The Polls: More than 15 million people are eligible to vote in one of more than 33,000 polling stations in Iraq's 18 provinces. There is also voting in 15 countries for eligible Iraqis.

How Many Are Running: There are 7,655 candidates running on 996 tickets. They belong to 307 political groups -- either in the form of single candidates or parties -- and 19 coalitions.

Biggest District: Baghdad is Iraq's biggest electoral district with 2,161 candidates running for 59 of the 275 seats in Iraq's parliament.

Polling Times: Polls opened at 7 a.m. Thursday (11 p.m. EST Wednesday) and close at 5 p.m. (9 a.m. EST Thursday).

Exit Polls: No exit polls or projections are expected.

Results: There may be some scattered and incomplete results Thursday night, although after the Jan. 30 elections it took two weeks to announce final results.

How Candidates Are Elected: Iraqis do not vote for individual candidates, but instead for lists -- or tickets -- that compete for the seats in each of the provinces. Each list corresponds to the seats represented in parliament for each province. This province-by-province voting will determine 230 of the 275 seats.

The remaining 45 will be decided nationwide. All votes cast will be added up and divided by 275 to provide a national threshold number. Any tickets that receive more votes than that threshold gets elected. This provision is designed to help small and medium-sized tickets win representation.

Government: The target is to have the count finished and a government in place by year's end. In the last elections, which did not see much Sunni Arab participation, it took until April 28 to form a government.