Abdelaziz Aliwi Al-Issawi – researcher

Introduction: Some countries have adopted postal voting as a means to increase voter participation, overcome obstacles faced on election day, and boost voter turnout. Among these countries are the United States, a well-established democracy, as well as Switzerland, Canada, Estonia, and others, which believe that postal voting can encourage higher voter turnout and achieve an acceptable level of participation. There are other reasons for implementing postal voting, such as facilitating voting for people with special needs and elderly citizens by allowing them to cast their votes by mail.
Given that Iraq’s democratic electoral experience is still in its early stages, it is essential to study the experiences of others and learn from them to apply applicable methods in Iraq. Considering that postal voting has been implemented in two important democracies, the United States (a presidential system) and Switzerland (applying the assembly system, which is being studied in several countries, including Iraq, as one of the election systems), examining these experiences and other attempts at postal voting could be beneficial, especially since Iraq is facing a noticeable decline in voter turnout.
Firstly: Elections and Postal Voting Electoral studies gained significant political and constitutional importance at the beginning of the 20th century. These studies have demonstrated their extensive and profound impact on various forms and mechanisms of democratic institutions.
Elections allow people to choose representatives who act on their behalf, manage their affairs, and exercise various powers on their behalf. Thus, elections represent the right to choose, wherein qualified political parties compete for representation. Elections include electing the head of state, legislative elections, and referendums.
It is known that elections can be direct or indirect, individual or list-based, majority or proportional representation, or even under mixed electoral systems, which vary across diverse legal frameworks. In advanced democratic countries, the constitution grants the right to vote to all individuals without discrimination. Some countries have innovated methods that allow individuals who cannot physically reach polling stations to cast their votes through postal voting. Postal voting allows voters to receive a ballot paper, which they can mark according to specific instructions before sending it back to be counted.
The name for postal voting may vary from one country to another, sometimes referred to as remote voting or absentee voting.
Specialized studies have shown that postal voting leads to a clear increase in voter turnout. However, this does not necessarily mean that attempts to manipulate postal voting have not occurred. Through experience, cases of fraud related to postal voting have been limited.