I voted. It felt great, but the greatest thing about it was how normal it felt; elections have become a ho-hum, commonplace occurance. That's quite a feat for a country with Iraq's past and current challenges. The voting procedure itself was very well organized and speedy. The election site had seven polling stations, with about 400 registered voters allowed to vote there. Everyone's name was posted outside, along with information about what polling station they were supposed to use. Once inside, IDs were checked against name lists, and one had to sign next one's name to indicate that this name has voted. All in all, there are reasonable mechanisms in place to contain incidents of fraud. Most complaints are the fault of voters, who should have checked their registration status and followed the Electoral Commission's instructions that were amply circulated beforehand in the run-up to the ballot.
The Western media is hyperventilating about mortars and katyushas, but what I found interesting is that the Islamic State of Iraq failed to carry out its threats of disrupting the elections in any discernible fashion. This was a logistical failure for the jihadists; hardly any successful suicide bombers or sniper attacks near the polling stations. Lobbing mortars indiscriminately around Baghdad is BS intimidation. It certainly didn't deter voters.
The fact that the security authorities allowed vehicular traffic around 11 AM was both surprising and bold. It showed confidence in their security precautions, and the fact that there were no car bombs shows that they were right.
As for the initial results, what I'm hearing from my own sources and what I'm seeing on TV point out, to me at least, that my predictions a few days ago (scroll down) were reasonably accurate. Maliki on top, followed by Allawi, and Iraqi National Alliance a distant third. Maliki has beaten the Sadrists in their own bastions in Baghdad. That says a lot.