Registered versus eligible voters

Provincial Council Elections: Two turnout figures: Official 41% and actual 26%

December 19, 964media — The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) announced a participation rate of 41%. However, data verified by the 964media team suggests that this figure represents only those who updated their biometric data, not the total number of eligible voters. When comparing the turnout to the total eligible voting population in Iraq, the actual participation rate stands at approximately 26%.

A spokesperson from the National Alliance of Election Monitoring Networks, speaking to 964media, indicated that the total number of eligible voters in Iraq is around 27 million. Excluding the Kurdistan region governorates, where the vote was postponed, the number of eligible voters exceeds 23 million.

The elections saw about 6.6 million voters casting their ballots in both special and general voting, which translates to a 26.7% turnout rate against the total updated and non-updated voter records, as per the Alliance’s spokesperson.

Furthermore, over 16 million voters demonstrated their interest in the elections by updating their registration records. By considering the 6.6 million who voted against this figure, the participation rate aligns with the 41% announced by the IHEC.

This discrepancy highlights the difference between the total electorate and those who actively participated in updating their voter information. According to the Iraqi constitution, individuals without a voter card cannot vote, yet they are still counted as part of the electorate. This inclusion points to a substantial number of people who, despite being eligible to vote, did not exercise this right, reflecting a broader trend of abstention and boycott, estimated around 74%.

“The data underscores the necessity for more inclusive measures to ensure that all eligible voters can obtain their voter cards and participate in future elections, thereby strengthening the democratic process in Iraq” said Hoger Chato the Coordinator general for Shams Network for Election Monitoring.