Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Liberia votes!

And a Peace Corps Volunteer remembers.

Jimmy Carter shook my hand in 1978 in Monrovia. Now, he’s back there as an election monitor.

Who will win? Twenty-four presidential candidates. There’s the homegrown soccer superstar (for France’s World Cup team), George Weah, and there’s Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Harvard-educated with World Bank experience, soldiering on for over 20 years in opposition, under arrest and sometimes in exile.

Today's New York Times article ends with the following:

"At polling place 30542, St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Monrovia, the Rev. Zaza Kollie was the presiding officer. Election workers handed out footlong ballots emblazoned with the face and party symbol of each candidate.

‘The enthusiasm is high,’ Mr. Kollie said. Of the 550 people registered to vote at his station, already more than 400 had cast ballots, he said, and dozens more remained in line outside, which could push turnout in his precinct to close to 90 percent.

The day also brought trials, Mr. Kollie said. With bad roads, poor communications and no electricity, pulling off an election this complex was an uphill battle for a poor nation like Liberia, even with significant help from international donors.

Looking worriedly at the setting sun, Mr. Kollie said he was concerned that voters would not be able to make out the ballots by the dim light shed from the single battery-operated lantern given to each polling place.

'I only have eight batteries,' he said. 'God willing, they will last until the last ballot is cast.'"

1 Comments:

Blogger Richard Wolfe said...

I put the NY Times article's URL in the "post link" part of Blogger's post editor, but it didn't show up in my post, so here it is:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/12/international/africa/12liberia.html

October 13, 2005 9:46 AM  

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