Fast Facts: Iraq Referendum Procedure

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The referendum vote on Iraq's (search) draft constitution is slated to take place Oct. 15. Iraqis will be asked to vote "yes" or "no" on whether the proposed constitution should be adopted.

Only Iraqis inside the country can vote. There will be no overseas voting by expatriate Iraqis, as there was in the parliamentary elections in January.

Iraqis will receive copies of the constitution written in Arabic or Kurdish, depending on their preference, included with their monthly food ration allocation, starting next month.

To vote, Iraqis must register by Thursday, except in Anbar province (search), a heavily terrorist-infested area where voter registration was extended until Sept. 7. Authorities had difficulty opening registration centers there on time because of security fears.

Iraq's interim law, called the Transitional Administrative Law (search), says the constitution needs a simple majority of "yes" votes to be approved. However, the TAL also includes a provision that the constitution fails if two-thirds of voters in three or more provinces reject it.

That provision was originally included in Iraq's interim law as a concession to Kurds, who wanted the ability to reject the constitution if they did not approve of it. The Kurds control three provinces in the north.

The provision's bigger impact now, however, could come in Sunni Arab areas. Sunni Arabs who dislike the draft constitution make up the majority of the population in at least four provinces and could potentially thus defeat the constitution.

However, those four provinces also have Shiite and Kurdish voters who might blunt the Sunni vote.

There is no rule requiring a minimum turnout. If just 100 voters nationwide turned out, but a majority voted "yes" and three provinces did not reject it, the constitution would become law.

If the constitution is approved by Iraqi voters Oct. 15, elections for a new permanent government must be held no later than Dec. 15. The new government would take office no later than Dec. 31.

If the constitution is rejected, Iraq must first hold new parliamentary elections under the old interim law. That new parliament must then again try to write another draft constitution and submit that to another voter referendum.