Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A walk for free and fair elections

Good news these days. The courageous and solitary effort of Alek Boyd, Patricia Wegenenast and friends seems to catch notice. Their walk from Koblenz to Bruxelles is attracting not only attention on the net but even an article from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. You can read it all at their blog laced with nice pictures of the walk, and the visitors that join them for one or more intervals.

But the additional good boost they are getting is the way the Colombian elections were held. Let's remind the reader that their walk is one of the numerous ways people are denouncing how the Venezuelan electoral board, CNE, is creating electoral conditions that favor the Chavez side, sometimes shamelessly, usually with lots of help from the Judicial power which has abdicated any independence and objectivity.

Well, this week end we got yet more evidence that all the “tinglado” of electronic voting machines, including finger printing devices, is just a gross manipulation of the system. Plus the latest ruling of the Surpeme Court that could mean that the CNE is under no obligation to count the paper ballots printed by the machines. Thus there will not be any need to print the 10 million ballot that Chavez has announced he will get. Quite a nice saving for the country, isn’t it so?

Unfortunately for the CNE, Colombia this week end had more than 10 million real voters, writing MANUALLY on a paper ballot their choice. And guess what? There was no need for “flexible” voting hours: all stations closed at 4 PM with almost no lines left. The results were known in a couple of hours and about 4 hours later the Colombian registry had 99% of the ballots counted. That is right, within 4 hours the losers had graciously conceded, Uribe claimed his victory and all went home for a well deserved rest, including probably the staff of the polling stations.

Nothing has been more detrimental to the credibility of the CNE than the Colombian elections of last Sunday. More than ever it seems that all the pseudo sophistication of the electronic voting is an element, at best, to scare opposition voters from the ballot boxes, at worst, an outright system to make up voting results as needed.

In addition the showing the Maisanta list in Bruxelles, the marchers will have this big boost by presenting the Colombian electoral system, INFINITELY more efficient, even at the level of web page, than the Venezuelan system. And probably INFINITELY more trustworthy than the CNE, in spite of a semi permanent civil war in Colombia.

PS: Remember, if you cannot walk with them you can support them. They get blisters and the rain falls on them all the time, give them at least a warm meal and a comfy bed at the end of the day.

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