ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Kurdistan election commission has activated a website that allows the Kurdistan Region and Kurdistani diaspora to register their names to vote in next month’s independence referendum.
The website is available in three languages: Kurdish, Arabic, and English.
A video published in both Kurdish and English by the foreign relation’s office explains the process.
Registration for those in diaspora begins on September 1 and continues through September 7. During that week, eligible voters can visit www.khec17.net to fill in an online registration form.
Using the Arabic alphabet for much of the process, voters must use their email address and mobile phone number to complete the registration, as well as provide two official Iraqi documents that prove they hold Iraqi citizenship, such as an Iraqi passport.
The voter also has to enter their current address and can only vote from their registered address since the website uses GPS to determine their location.
The website cannot be accessed from inside the Kurdistan Region.
Following registration, the voter will receive an activation email.
Voters in Kurdistan and abroad will be asked the same ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question: “Do you want the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdistani areas outside the administration of the Region to become an independent state?”
The diaspora will vote on September 23 from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Erbil time, two days before people in Kurdistan.
Voters abroad must meet four criteria: be at least 18-years old, have registered with the Voters’ Registration Database, have registered in the E-Voting Database, and be a citizen of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) or Kurdistani territories that are not organized under KRI.
The commission chose electronic voting because they say they are concerned that some nations may not allow them to open voting stations in their countries.
The vote is opposed by the central Iraqi government, which deems it “unconstitutional.” Iraqi missions abroad would not, therefore, facilitate in-person voting, another reason the Kurdistan government opted for the e-vote.