ROCK THE VOTE

Iraq's Polling Station in Nashville

If early turnout is any indication, Nashville may have a major say in Iraqi elections. Due to its large Kurdish population (around 10,000 people), the city was selected as one of the expatriate voting centers in the U.S. for Iraq’s parliamentary elections this weekend, and an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 Kurds are expected to travel to the city to cast their ballots. “The main thing I want people in the United States to know is that this is probably one of the best and most democratic elections in the history of the Middle East,” said a spokesman for the Kurdistan Democratic Party. “I know a lot of people have a hard position about the government and [President] George Bush going to Iraq, but this is what is happening because of all the sacrifice of the United States people.” For this round of elections, there are 6,172 candidates from more than 240 different parties competing for 350 seats on Iraq’s Council of Representatives, including around 250 candidates from the Kurdistan Alliance.