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Tulsan votes in Tulsa County and Iraqi elections

Updated:
Despite the fear of more violence, Iraqis are heading to the polls to vote in their country's parliamentary elections.

One Iraqi-American living in Tulsa plans to drive hours Wednesday to vote.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says Sarhang Rafaii is free to choose. He voted Tuesday in Tulsa's elections - and Wednesday in the Iraqi elections.

He can't understand why so many Americans don't bother to vote. For him, it's worth driving all day just to get to his precinct in Nashville, Tennessee.

Some might say he is living the American dream, but Sarhang Rafaii believes he's living the Iraqi dream of freedom.

"I'm going to vote," says Rafaii, "and I like to do that, and I tell everybody I want to do that."

Rafaii is an American now, who works as a mechanic. In 1990, he was an Iraqi Army Sergeant who refused to fight in Kuwait.

"I said, 'hey guys, we are here and we don't know what we're fighting for and I'm just one person and I'm walking out' and I left, it was 12 o'clock at night."

It took two wars for Iraqis like him to be able to really make a choice on a ballot and vote in open elections.

Turnout for the parliamentary election is in the millions, despite the threat of violence for voters and the murder of several candidates.

Rafaii says just having a choice has Iraqis excited.

"Not like it used to be, there's only one person, whether you agree or don't agree, you have to say yes."

Iraqi-Americans in this part of the country must travel to Nashville to cast their ballots. Many have dual citizenship that allows them to vote in Iraqi and American elections.

For Rafaii, it's a duty, a freedom, and a delight.

"I don't mind traveling ten hours, 20 hours to get to vote, to do something right for us. I have a brother and family there I want to do something for them."
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