At The Polls

3 Mar

Elections are coming up in Cuenca. Candidates (253 of them for local and state offices in the Province of Azuay) have hung huge banners all over town. Campaigning lasts for just 45 days preceding the election.

Ecuador takes voting seriously. Voting starts at the age of 16 and about 75% of the citizenry casts their vote in national and local elections. Voting day is always on a Sunday, a universal day of rest when everyone can get to the polls. Of particular interest is the prohibition of liquor sales for the four days before election day. It is Ecuador’s way of ensuring their citizens vote with a clear head.

We are taking a course in the history and culture of Ecuador. Our teacher is a newly minted citizen who voted for the first time in the last election. She received six ballot sheets (some of them graphic portraits of the candidates) and a pencil and marked her choices with an “X.” The voting booth was the box a refrigerator came in with a window and shelf created by cutting and folding. The whole process from entry to exit took her seven minutes with nary a machine in sight.

American voters could well use Ecuadorians for inspiration. Be sure to vote in 2020.




2 Responses to “At The Polls”

  1. Dede March 5, 2019 at 11:39 pm #

    This is fascinating. I think you should write a letter to your home newspaper about this. Expand your influence 🙂

    • Jill and Dana March 6, 2019 at 12:05 am #

      Now that’s an idea. The level of participation and enthusiasm here is inspiring. We experience the same thing in Costa Rica at election time. I am pulling it from memory but I think their turnout is over 90%. People fly their party flags in their yards without incident. We have much to learn.

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