Just like with a lot of other supposed milestones in the war in Iraq, I hope that the elections help calm the situation down, but I don't have any reason to suspect they will. Expatriates are already voting, and that's great -- I think expat voting is a good thing.
But how many elections have you heard of where it is actually easier (not to mention safer) to vote as an expat than it is to vote within the home country? Will the expats have a disproportionate turnout, and would that give them a disproportionate say in the government? Who knows? With the lack of transparency in the way votes are going to be counted, and the absence of international election monitors, it is hard to say whether the final results are really going to bear any resemblance at all to the way people voted (or wanted to vote).
My opinion is that whether or not the elections are "successful" as far as having a large turnout without a lot of bloodshed, the war will rage on as long as U.S. troops are there. We can't prevent Iraqis from having a civil war (arguably it's already on) but we can guarantee that they will have a war against us. I've been for awhile where Ted Kennedy has finally arrived -- let's declare victory and get out.