Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Israeli Elections (Where fraud is normal)

Being able to vote is one of the ultimate acts of citizenship. As politics is something I have always been interested in, I was very excited to be able to vote. Instead of being proud to be a voter and active in the political process, I am embarrassed witnessing first hand the worst of what our political system has to offer.

I tried on a number of occasions to volunteer for one of the parties. First they did not respond to my request. I finally got sent down a chain of volunteers of who directed me to the person I should talk to. He responded with just show up at a particular location whenever you feel like it. This morning I called the party for a ride to the polling station. An hour later I called again and they finally arranged a ride for us. A party representative that I have a lot of respect for was at the booth across from the polling station. I asked if I could help after the polls close. They made some phone calls and told me I was out of luck. Later in the evening, an e-mail went out on the list asking for after the polls close help. I called the campaign manager who I have met. He told me to call another number. They told me that they would call me if they needed me. I tried to help. Nobody wanted it.

I am used to parties not campaigning on election day. There were cars driving around all day playing loud music with election posters. Garbage was everywhere as parties scrambled to put up their own last minute election signs and tear down those of their opponents. Streets were littered with garbage everywhere. Campaign booths were set up accross from polling stations.
On the plus side I met a candidate that I had sent my resume to earlier in the morning. He showed me on his phone that he had the e-mail and he would be reading it.

After voting I became very concerned about how easy it is to manipulate the election, through ballot tampering or misleading information. As the day went on there were more and more reports of vote tampering. (Details on how votes are cast is in my politics blog). Last report police were investigating 420 seperate incidences.

We have been here for almost 3 months. Today was the first time I have been embarrased to call myself and Israeli. I was so upset that I sent an e-mail to Elections Canada requesting that they lend their expertise in ending the election corruption. Afterall they are the same organizaiton that helps such advance countries as Iraq, Haiti and Afghanistan have free and fair elections. I just hope the people's choice is the actual winner.

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