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"I am not sure. First we must count."
A young man in blue button-down had voted for Mousavi. He'd just flown in from Tehran several hours before. He described the scene there as very peaceful when he left. "No violence at all," he said.
"People are just saying what they've wanted to say for the last four years. We're crossing our fingers and hoping for change."
A young woman in a red headscarf also voted for Mousavi. A student in New Haven, she was heading back to Iran that night. Among the people she knew, she said, he was the overwhelming favorite.
Others there were somewhat less forthcoming. Three women huddled in a corner of the room speaking quietly among themselves. Two were students at City College; the other was a middle-aged woman who smiled politely when approached, then nodded silently to one of her companions and walked off to another part of the mosque.
"All of the candidates have some good features and causes," said one of the pair that remained. "All of them are good. They each have some different ways to achieve their aims."
Pressed for her favorite among them, she offered the sort of non-response response that would make a White House press secretary proud.
"I would like to choose the president who thinks about the people's problems and solving those problems," she said.
The television, meanwhile, showed Ahmadinejad adding to what appeared to be, at any rate, a commanding lead.
"I can't say," said an older man in a dark suit when asked who his choice had been. He begged off any further questions citing his poor English, although his English was perfectly fine. Another man similarly declined to share his vote, although he was willing to engage on less personal subjects. He pointed to the four people — two men, two women — working the registration table. Each of them, he said, was a supporter of one of the candidates. Each was there, he said, to keep an eye on the proceedings.
"They would never tell you that," he said in a quiet, conspiratorial tone, "but we all know that's what's going on."
Would there be cheating?
"No," he said, "there's not going to be any cheating. They won't be able to add that many votes. It's not like Bush in Florida buying them for $3 apiece."
"How many votes can you add, really? Two million? Three million? Five million? You can only add so many."
As it turns out, he was wrong about this. But also, perhaps, right. •
Photos by Rachel Feierman