A small curbside office suite in Alexandria, Virginia, USA becomes a polling site of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission, administered by the International Organization for Migration. In addition to Sudan and the United States, Australia, Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and the United Kingdom host voting.
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"I'm here to vote!" joked U.S. Representative Frank Wolf, Republican of Virginia, visiting a Sudanese voting station in his state, on the second day of week-long voting, January 10, 2011. The northern Virginia polling site is one of stations in the United States where registered southern Sudanese can vote in the referendum.
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Nina Shea (center), a commissioner of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, visiting a Sudan referendum polling center in Virginia, said that the peace process "may turn out to be among the most successful purely diplomatic peace efforts in U.S. foreign-policy history."
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Jehan Mechak Deng (left), information officer for the south Sudan mission to the United States, visited the Virginia referendum polling site while U.S. Representative Frank Wolf (right) was there. She credited U.S. diplomacy, along with other international efforts, with making the referendum on Southern Sudan's future possible.
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Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, head of the government of Southern Sudan's mission to the United States, at a polling station in Virginia on the second day of voting. He thanked American officials and the religious community for pressing for peace and for a referendum and asked for prayers for peace as Sudan tackles future challenges.
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Expressing a bi-partisan spirit, Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf, who chairs the Sudan Caucus and has visited Sudan five times, thanked President George W. Bush for pursuing the breakthrough Sudan peace agreement of 2005 and President Barack Obama for pressing for a peaceful referendum.
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Leonard A. Leo (right), who chairs the bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, alongside Representative Frank Wolf (left) at a Sudan referendum voting site. Leo said the commission has been working for a decade, since its founding, to end the conflict that killed two million people and to keep the peace.
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Vivian Nassar presses her freshly inked finger on a voting record, after her registration was verified by a referendum official at an Alexandria, Virginia polling center on the second day of voting. Although a steady stream of voters passed through, turnout was considerably lighter than on the first day.
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Vivian Nassar with son Matias Fernandez Nassar - "making history," she said, outside the northern Virginia referendum center. With a masters' degree in conflict resolution from the UK, she hopes to help Sudan avert conflict in the future. 'I'm a proud Southern Sudanese voter," she said, displaying her inked finger.
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