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Central Ohio Iraqis Vote in Detroit

Iraqi nationals in the Midwest will vote in Deerborn and Farmington Hills Michigan to cast absentee ballots in Iraq's critical parliamentary election. Over cell phone on her way to Detroit to vote, Ohio State Professor Ayser Hamoudi said she hopes the elections will bring a stable government to Iraq. "You have to have hope. I mean this is human nature, that you have hope in the future. This is a human nature and yeah, I'm hoping that it will lead to a governemnt that is more stable and that will be able to provide security. I have first degree relatives in the area so obviously I have a stake," Hamoudi said.

Hamoudi says she wants to add her voice to the elections. But some Iraqi nationals will not be able to make the trip to Michigan.

Z. Alani of Columbus says she wanted to vote but travel and work conflicts kept her from making the 6 hr roundtrip. Alani says she hopes the elections will bring progress toward ending the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Alani hopes elections produce a stable, secular state. She says a government led under one singular sect or faction will not help Iraq's future.

"I think its very important that a secular governemnt rule Iraq. I don't think that any religious government, be it Shiite or Sunni or any government that belongs to one particular sect is going to help the future of Iraq. We've always been a secular state and we need to continue being a secular state-- an indepdent secular state. Free of any foreign involvement," Alani said.

The Detroit area is one of nine polling locations for Iraqi nationals in the U.S.

Steve Brown grew up in nearby Richwood, Ohio and now lives there with his wife and sons. He started his journalism career as a weekend board operator at WOSU while majoring in journalism at Ohio State, where he also wrote for the student newspaper The Lantern and co-founded the organization Students for Public Broadcasting.