Wednesday, March 15, 2006

How to rig an election

We are watching the elections in Belarus with a personal interest in the rox_castle. The in-laws reporting from the field indicate that the poll cited by the Guardian's Jonathan Steele here:

A poll in January by Gallup/Baltic Surveys, and reported in the emigre Belarusian Review, found only 17% in favour of Milinkevich and nearly 55% supporting Lukashenko.

is probably accurate, but the sitting president, Alexander Lukashenko, is taking no chances.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's "Belarus Votes" section has the rundown. Here's a handy little manual for you would-be dictators on rigging your election to assure the overwhelming support you so desire:

1. In the months leading up to the election,
arrest opposition activists.
2. Then begin
arresting potential opposition candidates
3. Rinse and
repeat... as many times as necessary.
Refuse journalists entry, deport those there, arrest those who persist in reporting (be sure to listen to the recording), prevent publication of opposition newspapers, and censor opposition speech as needed.
Start the voting early, so your folks have plenty of time to ensure everything is going as planned. Encourage early votes, to avoid those pesky last minute ballots that are more difficult to alter.

Any other suggestions would be welcome. This manual is to serve merely as a primer, and is in no way comprehensive. Shall we start an over-under betting pool on the official percentage of the vote won by lukashenko? Price is right rules. Closest to the figure without going over. I'll open the bidding at 91%.


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