Very interesting article on the election here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2002/10/16/wirq16.xml&sSheet=/news/2002/10/16/ixhome.html
A couple of exerpts:
A gallery of 28 portraits of Saddam dominated the corridor where voters registered their names. He was depicted in familiar fashion as soldier, Bedouin chief and philosopher, with brow furrowed in pious reflection. Saddam the family man was also on display, wearing only swimming trunks, playing with two children in the surf and building sandcastles.
No polling booths were provided and people marked their crosses in blood or pencil. They then fought their way to the ballot box, most displaying their papers above their heads, ensuring that no one could mistake their Yes vote.
This atmosphere of organised hysteria ensured a 99.96 per cent vote for Saddam in the last referendum in 1995 and yesterday's exercise in Iraqi democracy will deliver a similar triumph.
Voting regulations are notably relaxed. A six-year old boy cast his vote in Tikrit, amid much acclaim. In the nearby town of Aldour, British subjects were allowed to vote. After a light-hearted request, a ballot paper was thrust into my hand and men chanting "We love Saddam" propelled me towards the ballot box.
The official in charge brandished a voting slip, pointing towards the box carrying the Arabic for Yes. I managed to slip through a side exit.
The neighbouring village of Altouz vied with Tikrit in displays of loyalty. Hundreds of schoolchildren outside a polling station, chanted "we give our hearts for Saddam".
The children wilted in the oppressive heat. Again and again, their teachers had to rouse them into renewed chanting. Some sobbed quietly, stealing furtive glances to left and right before dabbing their eyes with the hems of their party dresses.