Iranian-Americans and expatriates vote in election

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Iranian-Americans and expatriates will be able to vote Friday in Iran’s presidential election, but turnout is expected to be lower than in 2009 in part because there are fewer places to cast ballots.

During the previous election, record numbers of Iranians voted in 41 locations throughout the U.S. This year, there are half as many voting locations.

Some analysts attribute the expected drop to the controversy surrounding Iran’s election four years ago, when droves of Iranians took to the streets in support of the reformist candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, and protested President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election.

Large numbers of young people protested in major cities, some carrying signs that read “Where is my vote?” Clashes erupted between activists and police that turned increasingly violent.

“Both in the diaspora and in Iran itself, people lost confidence in the worth of their vote,” said Reza Aslan, adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

U.S. Census figures show about 414,000 Iranians live in the United States. California has the most and the state will have six of the 20 polling places around the U.S. including New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Anyone with a valid Iranian passport can vote. Locations of polling places were announced on Thursday by the Islamic Interests Sections of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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