My name is Jane Stillwater and I am a freelance journalist, blogger and war correspondent, having been embedded with the Marines in Al Ambar province and with the Army in Baghdad, among other things.
When I was a child, I used to watch my mother running a polling place out of her home -- and to watch her stay up late counting the ballots. So I know from early experience what a fair election looks like. I have also reported on more recent presidential elections in Florida and Ohio. And of course I myself have voted many times over the years.
But I have never seen anything here in the States even close to the enthusiasm and even outright joy among voters as I had witnessed while observing the elections in the Syrian city of Sweida.
One woman at the polls told me, "Living in Syria under the invasion of foreign fighters has been like living inside of a Hollywood horror movie -- with no place to hide that was safe. And now we finally feel safe enough to have elections in Syria. I am so happy!"
Do I honestly think that the elections in Syria were fair and authentic? You bet.