BAGHDAD, Iraq - A sandstorm that muddied Baghdad’s skies cleared, allowing officials to resume flying ballot boxes to the capital Tuesday so “unusually high” vote totals in 12 Shiite and Kurdish provinces can be checked by election officials.If you are a Washington Post reader, you could easily have missed this developing story. The only mention of possible voter irregularities in the weekend vote in today's Post is buried within this story on page A-20, which is headlined: "Iraq's Premier Urges a Speedy Trial for Hussein." Ridiculous.
The investigation by Iraq’s election commission has raised the possibility that the results of the referendum could be called into question. As many as 99 percent of the voters reportedly approved Iraq’s draft constitution in some of the provinces being investigated.
... Word of the review came Monday as Sunni Arab leaders repeated accusations of fraud after initial reports from the provinces suggested the constitution had passed. Among the Sunni allegations are that police took ballot boxes from heavily “no” districts, and that some “yes” areas had more votes than registered voters.
... Election officials in many provinces have released their initial counts, indicating that Sunni attempts to defeat the charter failed. But the commission found that the number of “yes” votes in most provinces appeared “unusually high” and would be audited, with random samples taken from ballot boxes to test them.
The high numbers were seen among the nine Shiite provinces of the south and the three Kurdish ones in the north, al-Lami said. Those provinces reported to the AP “yes” votes above 90 percent, with some as high as 97 and 98 percent.
There at least should have been a small sidebar on the reported irregularities.