Posted by R. Neal

Thousands of Iraqi expatriates are voting this week in Nashville to elect the Iraqi Council of Representatives. The U.S. government has made provisions for Iraqis to participate in elections by setting up voting facilities for them in Nashville, Washington, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.

Unfortunately, the U.S. government has not seen fit to make similar provisions for displaced Gulf Coast residents who were evacuated for Hurricane Katrina and have not been able to return. Legislation was introduced in the House (HR3734) and the Senate (S1867) that would give evacuees the right to use the same absentee balloting and registration procedures available to military and overseas voters under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. For some reason, both measures were referred to committee, never to be heard from again.

And that's not the only problem with elections in Louisiana. Governor Blanco has ordered that local elections in New Orleans, originally scheduled for February and March, will be postponed indefinitely. Here's a summary of some other problems and an interesting article on how the political landscape might change for Democrats in Louisiana which might explain why Congress is dragging its feet.