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Purple-thumbed Republicans 'tipping hat' to Iraqis in weekend straw poll
Nick Juliano
Published: Thursday August 9, 2007

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This weekend, Americans will see images of voters emerging from polling booths proudly displaying their purple-stained thumbs as a mark of pride after their democratic effort.

The images will not be beamed from Baghdad, though, but from Ames, Iowa, where Republicans will gather for an annual straw poll. This year's straw poll will be the first to have voters dip their thumbs in the same kind of dye used in the 2005 national elections in Iraq.

"We recognize the great privilege of voting by tipping our hat to the Iraqi people who cast their first votes in a free and democratic election," Chuck Laudner, the Iowa Republican Party's executive director, said in a news release. "Iowans will be just as proud to display their inked thumb as the newly liberated Iraqi people were."

The purple dye is being implemented along with several other security measures, such as a photo-ID requirement, because of problems with out-of-state voters participating in the poll and voters casting more than one ballot. A guide to the straw poll published by the state party explains that voters will have their thumbs stained and features and accompanying stick figure illustration.

"It's just one more (security) measure other than scanning the ballots," Iowa GOP communications director Mary Tiffany told RAW STORY.

She said ink is the same brand as used in Iraq's parliamentary elections, when images of Iraqis proudly displaying their stained fingers filled television screens around the world. The ink was manufactured by Code Inc., a company based in Ottawa, Canada.