Ballot coercion

From: charlie strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Mon Dec 03 2007 - 10:52:37 CST

>From time to time on OVC and other voting forums occasionally we hear a rant about how the secret ballot or even the polling place is an anachronism and there's no longer threats of coercion. Here's a gentle reminder from today's paper:

“Russians Being Pressed to Deliver ‘Correct” Result” by Lynn Berry, Associated Press:

MOSCOW- With the Kremlin determined to see a high turnover in today’s election, many Russians say they are being pressured to vote at work under the watchful eyes of their bosses or risk losing their jobs. They say they also are being told to provide lists of relatives and friends who will vote for United Russia, the party of President Vladimir Putin…

   In the push to get out the vote, the absentee ballot has become a popular tool.

   A teacher in St. Petersburg said the school administration told staff members to get absentee ballots from their neighborhood polling stations ahead of the election. They are to vote together today at a polling station at the school.

   “They didn’t tell us necessarily to vote for United Russia but you can read between the lines,” said the teacher, who was willing to give only her first name, Yelena, out of fear of being fired. Similar accounts have been given by teachers, doctors, factory workers and others around the country. Some have said they were warned they would lose their jobs if they did not comply.

   Hundreds of people have called an election hot line to complaint about the use of absentee ballots, the Central Elections Commission said in a summary of the complaints posted on its Web site. Some complaints came from hospital patients, who said they had been threatened with early discharge if they did not produce absentee ballots…(end excerpts)

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Received on Mon Dec 31 23:17:03 2007

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