Monday, July 19, 2004

When Elections Threaten Democracy

A caller on the BBC radio service bragged about how he walked up to an election registration center here and, without showing any identification, received a voter card. He claimed to have immediately shuttled to another registration site where he was swiftly awarded another card, again without question. A local newspaper article told of people selling their voter registration cards — not card — to political parties for $150 a piece. When I visit one of these sites, an old man shoves me aside and asks me where the free food is. After a confusing exchange, I decipher the miscommunication: he believes his voter registration card is a coupon for free wheat. "Voting," he asks, visibly irritated. "For what? What's an election?"

Great to see what a great job we're doing instilling democracy over there, isn't it? Love that follow-through.

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