Iranians in LA debate outside, vote inside

Iranian-Americans are lined up at locations in Los Angeles, Irvine, and Ontario to cast ballots in today’s presidential election in Iran.

KPCC’s Shirley Jahad says the debate over whether to participate or sit out the election swirled around the polling site at the Westin Hotel at L.A. International Airport.

There are cat calls that go back and forth when Persians go by to go into the hotel to vote from folks outside. I heard earlier this morning there was a little shoving match between a voter and people who are saying, “Don’t go vote! Don’t participate! That legitimizes the regime!”

There’s two schools of thought here. The group inside uses a lot of language about change and about hope as a matter of fact, talking about trying to make a change and being engaged in the process, such as it is. The people outside say any demonstration of engagement is in effect endorsing a regime that they say is illegitimate and shouldn’t be in place.

More than 400,000 Iranians in the United States can vote. Volunteers staffed 41 polling places across the U.S.