The Islamic Republic of Iran will have a presidential election on June 14, 2013. As an observer of elections in different countries I find that Iranian election procedures are very similar to those of the most democratic elections held in European nations, such as France. Iranians vote on paper ballots that are counted openly in each polling place in the presence of observers. The tally from each polling station is then verified openly and published by the government after the election. These are the most fundamental and essential elements of a transparent and democratic election, and these are exactly the elements that are sadly missing from elections in the United States. It may come as a surprise but Iranian elections are much more transparent that elections in the United States. The voting process and the counting of the votes in Iran are transparent processes, while most votes in the United States are cast and counted on electronic voting systems run by private companies. The use of computer voting systems in the United States has actually allowed our elections to be stolen because the citizenry has lost its oversight of the crucial vote-counting process entirely. Today, there is virtually no open counting of the votes in polling stations in the United States because nearly all voting “data” is processed in computerized systems – not counted by citizens.
I recently read Going to Tehran (2013) by Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett. This is an excellent and timely book that calls for the United States to come to terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is highly recommended reading and should help Americans understand why it is in the best interest of our nation to change course and stop trying to overthrow the Islamic Republic with economic sanctions, covert actions, and threats of war.
The Leveretts have served as high-level policy advisors on Iran in various departments and agencies of the U.S. government. In Chapter 6, “A Controversial Election,” they discuss the 2009 election in Iran. On page 246 they describe how Iranians vote and how the votes are counted:
Iranian votes are cast on paper ballots.
Every Iranian aged eighteen or over, including those living abroad, may vote; in 2009, the Iranian government operated polling stations for expatriates in almost a hundred countries, including the United States. To vote, an Iranian must show an official ID with the bearer’s photograph, thumbprint, and a unique number. At the polling station, the voter’s name and ID number are recorded three times: by hand in a register, on a computer, and again by hand on the voter’s ballot stub. Before casting the ballot, the voter must press a purple-ink thumbprint onto the stub, which is then separated from the ballot and dropped into a “stub box.” (Separation of the stub prior to the casting of the ballot ensures the secrecy of the vote.) The voter marks the ballot and drops it into the ballot box; the voter’s ID card is then stamped, to prevent him or her from voting again.
Full Article: How Iranians Vote – Iran’s View | Iran’s View.