I'm neither a Bush-Worshipper nor a Bush-Hater, but folks, 76% voter turnout is not a sham election. I don't care what the people at Daily Kos and Talk Left may say. Kerry has already been on the news insisting that we "don't overhype" this. I hope people here will paint their fingertips blue tomorrow as a show of support and celebration for the people who had their first real election in a generation (and one of the first Arab elections where women could vote anywhere).
I don't mind Democrats holding the administration accountable for any real acts of wrongdoing, but they undermine their credibility when they call a good thing "bad" just because it looks good for Bush. This was a better turnout than most industrialized democracies usuall have in their elections - and the Iraqis voted in spite of death threats from insurgents.
It's really petty for critics to naysay the election because of the intense security offered by U.S. troops for the event. If we hadn't done this, and there was a bloodbath or a low turnout, the same people would have lambasted the administration for forcing an election and not making the country secure. Kerry opined that Iraq is less safe today than it was while Saddam was in power. He's being contradictory - first, the election is not truly legitimate for him because we made the country so secure, and then he criticizes the Administration for not making it secure enough. I don't get it. The Bush-bashers seem genuinely disappointed that the vote went well, that no bloodbath occurred, and that the turnout was really tremendous. Sorry to let you down, guys.
I know voter turnout was low in some Sunni neighborhoods - either because the people were more afraid of insurgents there, or because they resent the idea of democracy. It's sort of like the MTV audience in America - don't vote, don't matter. Every democracy has pockets or groups that choose to marginalize themselves by not participating or voting.