Sunday, October 28, 2007

Stamps and votes

Funny crossing of words on a sunday morning Google News' consultation : "timbre" or "stamp" find electoral news these days.

At the eve of the annual electoral day in the United States, citizens, like those of the State of Washington, are using an absentee voting process. Local authorities accept two types of sent votes : put on special boxes of their administration or delivered by the post service. And here is the problem : some citizens refused to pay a postage stamp that they see as a vote tax. But do the others citizens have to supported this service? Have the USPS to be zealous to deliver these mails while they risk to be refused? (knowing that USPS seems to send back directly to sender this sort of mail - or deliver them veeeeeeeery slowly)

More problematic than the driving-vote, in Togo and others young democraties, authorities want to show their good faith at each election : that foreign observers (from paying and commercial countries) report that the process was honnest, free and equal for all electors and candidates.

The first problem is to be assured that a voter don't vote more than one time - some time without knowing it. I remember a press photograph of an Iraqi woman in her headscarf pointing her electoral card and her finger, with indelibile ink on it.

In Togo, democraty exerced by the Eyadema family, it was decided for the legislative election of 14th October 2007 that on all bulletin complete inside the vote office, a stamp must be sticked. The goal was to avoid the elector to be brided outside in exchange for a pre-completed form. But, stamps were not printed in enough quantities, electors began to be angry... finally, the electoral commission decided decided to make bulletin stamped by two official signatories.

In Bulgaria, this sunday 28 October, a handstamp will mark the long ballots for the city hall elections : the elector must tick the candidates he prefered to be seated at his city hall (94 cm long list for the capital Sofia). To be sure a falsified stamp won't replace the one the official supervisor will use : « Just before the official start of the voting process, members of the electoral body will make sections on the stamps' rubber sides. » How errors, freaks and oddities are useful some times.

The democraty's walking, the stamp's polysemic (or vice-versa).

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