15 Facts About Elections Around the World
Democracy is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor—and neither is its essential mechanism, the election. Read on to learn more about how people around the world—and how some people who are currently out of this world—perform their essential civic duty when Election Day rolls around.
1. IN MOST PLACES, ELECTIONS ARE HELD ON SUNDAYS.
Voters in the U.S. may head to the polls on Tuesdays, but the rest of the world prefers to save its votes for Sunday. Interestingly, countries in which English is the primary language tend to be the exception to this rule; in Canada, citizens vote on Mondays, while Brits vote on Thursdays, and Australians and New Zealanders on Saturdays.
The American vote wasn’t always limited to Tuesdays by law; instead, it’s a holdover from the 19th century, when farmers were often forced to travel long distances to their polling stations, and needed enough time to make it back home in time for market day on Wednesday.
2. INDIA IS SO HUGE, ITS ELECTIONS CAN TAKE WEEKS.
India is home to more than 800 million eligible voters, which makes it the world’s largest democracy. In order to accommodate an electorate of that size, the government holds elections over the course of weeks, or even months. The last major general election in 2014, in which Indians voted for the 543 members of parliament, took place on nine separate days over five weeks.
3. SWEDISH AND FRENCH VOTERS ARE AUTOMATICALLY REGISTERED.
People in France and Sweden don’t need to worry about making time to register ahead of Election Day. The government automatically registers voters when they’re eligible—in France, that’s as soon as people turn 18. Sweden relies on tax registries to create lists of eligible citizens.
4. VOTING IS COMPULSORY IN AUSTRALIA.
Every Australian over 18 is required by law to register to vote and to participate in federal elections. Anyone who doesn’t show up on Election Day is fined AU$20 (around $15). Failure to pay that fine results in even steeper penalties—up to AU$180—and can result in a criminal charge.
5. KIDS AS YOUNG AS 16 CAN ROCK THE VOTE IN BRAZIL.
Since 1988, Brazilian citizens have had the right to vote at age 16. (Voting is required for almost everyone between the ages of 18 and 69, and anyone who doesn’t vote is subject to a fine.) Sixteen and 17-year-olds are also eligible to vote in Austria, Nicaragua, and Argentina, and 17-year-olds can cast votes in Indonesia and Sudan. Select states in Germany have given 16-year-olds the vote in local elections, and in 2014, for the first time ever, Scottish teens aged 16 and 17 were allowed to vote on a referendum.
Studies of elections in which 16- and 17-year-olds can participate have shown that giving young people the ability to vote may translate into a more engaged citizenry as those voters grow older. What’s more, teens who choose to participate in elections are often as well informed about the candidates and the issues as their older counterparts.
6. IN ESTONIA, YOU CAN CAST YOUR VOTE ONLINE.
Since 2005, Estonians have had the ability to vote online instead of waiting in line at their local polling stations. Although in-person voting is still more popular, in 2015, more than 30 percent of Estonian voters took advantage of the online voting system. The Estonian system is workable because every citizen receives a scannable ID card and PIN, which he or she can use to fulfill a number of civic responsibilities, from filing taxes to paying library fines. (Although an Estonian’s ID card and PIN are used to confirm his or her identity on Election Day, the vote itself is encrypted, rendering it anonymous.)
7. VOTER TURNOUT IN THE U.S. IS EXTREMELY LOW COMPARED TO OTHER DEVELOPED COUNTRIES.
According to a 2016 report about voter turnout in developed countries, just 53.6 percent of Americans performed their civic duty during the 2012 election cycle, which places the U.S. 31st out of 35 OECD nations. By contrast, Belgium saw the highest percentage of eligible voters turn out for its 2014 election; approximately 87.2 percent of Belgian citizens cast their votes.
8. IN CHILE, MEN AND WOMEN VOTED SEPARATELY UNTIL 2012.
Beginning in 1930—when women were first given the right to vote in local elections in Chile—men and women headed to separate polling locations. That year, a separate registry was created to accommodate newly-registered female voters, who were still prohibited from voting in national elections. The custom of separating men and women on election day persisted even after suffrage was granted in nationwide elections (and the country’s voting registries were combined) in 1949. Sixty-three years later, the government decided that voting doesn’t have to be segregated by gender; however, separate voting is still widely practiced.
9. YES, NORTH KOREA HOLDS ELECTIONS.
But they’re far from democratic. Although a whopping 99.7 percent of the electorate participated in the 2015 local elections, citizens didn’t have much of a choice when it came to choosing who they wanted to endorse. Everyone on the ballot was selected ahead of time by North Korea’s ruling party; to vote, North Koreans simply had to drop a printout of the names in a box to indicate their support. A separate box was present at polling locations, which voters could use to register their rejection of the given candidates. However, all of the candidates chosen received 100 percent of the vote—which means either no one opted to dissent, or if they did, their votes weren’t counted.
10. THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND IS ELIGIBLE TO VOTE.
There’s no law in the United Kingdom barring Queen Elizabeth II from participating in elections. But in order to appear as objective as possible, she generally does not. Ahead of Britain’s June referendum regarding its E.U. membership, a Buckingham Palace spokesman told reporters that, “It’s very clearly the convention here, that the queen is above politics … it’s a convention that the royal family do not vote in general elections, and this is very much an extension of that convention.”
11. GOVERNMENTS GET CREATIVE IN PLACES WHERE LITERACY IS AN ISSUE.
In Gambia, citizens cast their votes by dropping marbles into color-coded metal drums with pictures of the candidates. Each drum is rigged with a bell, which the marble, after it’s dropped in, dings. (If the bell rings more than once, poll workers know someone has broken the rules.)
12. PUNDITS IN NEW ZEALAND KEEP MUM ON ELECTION DAY.
That’s because media (or social media) coverage of anything that could influence the outcome is illegal before 7 p.m. on Election Day. According to one report, “Talking heads on television can’t mention something as mundane as a candidate’s attire, much less who might win. Political parties are even directed by authorities to ‘unpublish their [social media] pages.’” Anyone in violation of the restriction on Election Day chatter faces a fine of up to NZ$20,000 (around $14,000).
13. ASTRONAUTS CAN VOTE.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have had the ability to vote since 1997, when Texas lawmakers passed a measure that allowed secure ballots to be sent to space by Mission Control in Houston, Texas. Once astronauts make their selections, their ballots—PDFs of the paper ballots they’d receive in the mail—are beamed back down to Earth, where clerks open the encoded documents and submit a hard copy of the astronaut’s ballot to be counted.
14. LIECHTENSTEIN VOTERS WEIGH IN ON CITIZENSHIP.
In the tiny European country of Liechtenstein (population: 37,000) citizens vote for politicians, referendums—and whether or not to grant citizenship to those who have applied after residing in the principality for 10 years or more.
15. ONE ECUADORIAN ELECTION GOT OFF ON THE WRONG FOOT.
The victor in a 1967 mayoral election in Ecuador: a popular brand of foot powder. In the days leading up to the election, the company ran election-themed ads, suggesting consumers vote for the powder “if they want well-being and hygiene.” Spoiler alert: The foot powder won, thanks to the large volume of write-in votes it received.
Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, Borno State Governor-Elect; From Grass to Grace.
From a very humble background, he trekked 7km daily to school in Mafa, in Borno State and covered same distance to help his father, a peasant farmers on his farm.
He paid his secondary education and National Diploma (ND) were self sponsored. He attended Unimaid for B.Agric working as commercial taxi and farm produce driver, still cldnt afford hostel accommodation.
Prof. Zulum extended his commercial driving trade to Lagos, precisely at Alaba-Rago to raised his tuition fees for MSc program, 3weeks after resumption. He returned to Maiduguri for his PhD program, moved through the ranks until his appointment as Professor in 2014.
Zulum have more than enough family challenges that he couldn’t afford to built a house of his own but lived in rented apartment until recently. He returned to his rickety car after office as Provost, Ramat Poly, Maiduguri.
In 2015, Zulum was appointed pioneer Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement by Shettima, who told a gathering in Maiduguri last week that one of his attractions to Zulum was the fact that despite being in control of billions of naira for reconstruction of thousands of homes, schools and hospitals, “[He] neither bought a personal house nor a personal car for himself. He also came under attack from Boko Haram twice, but didn’t stop in his efforts to rebuild substantial parts of Borno.
The State and the Party got him a house and car after he emerged as the party flag bearer of APC, and to this humble and very trustworthy Prof, nothing has changed. “All offices are temporal as days of democratic offices are numbered before our emergence, why the excesses.”
Congratulations Prof. Umara Zulum, may the Lord ease your new tasks, guide and guard you. May your administration witness peace and progress for the good people of Borno State.
COM.ADESINA FATAI ADEWALE JUBILANT
LESSONS FROM THE VICTORY OF ENGR. SEYI MAKINDE
Never put for sale, property that is not yours.Don’t ever take for granted people’s acceptance of your personality. If Lion is the king of the jungle, it does not mean Tiger is meant to run errands.
NOW, Otunba will not be able to collect his balance.
When you get to the top, be cultured and briddle your tongue. The very day all your servants reason negatively about you, believe me your seat is being deflated already. Never play the role of God over anybody. Hossana today, crucify him tomorrow.
NOW, The constipated authority is dead politically, o tun fi ti e koba omo olomo.
Before you embark on any journey, be very sure you are ready for what is ahead. “Erin ka rele o wa joba” Not every music is danceable not all that glitters is gold. People are not items you pick in ShopRite, if you want to control a dog, first live together with her.
NOW, Another person has occupy the CBN Deputy Governor’s position. He has spent beyond small. Micofinance bank calling.
If you have children and workers please don’t treat them the same way. Money is a tool and not people’s voice. Respect yourself, especially when you have a bastard as a son.
NOW, Owo ti wo gbo. Akala Yahoo Enterprises ti gba baba.
In conclusion, eni aye ba n ye ko ma sora. That is the story of Akere’s broken leg.
Dele Momodu has been mocked by many Nigerians for blocking them on Twitter after calling him out for fake news and lies that he peddles regularly.
It appeared that some Nigerians had had enough of the veteran journalist and were not going to allow him to continue to deceive people on social media.
On Sunday Momodu, who has often been criticized and corrected for spreading fake news said he would block those who called him out for peddling lies against Mr. Laolu Akande, spokesperson to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
“My main tweet of the day… why do trolls get angry when you block them; they come on your TL, like mannerless people, rain insults at you, and expect you to say “thank you for abusing me…” Jokers!!!” he tweeted before going on a blocking spree.
Reacting to Mr. Momodu blocking him, Tracy Chels wrote, “Dele Momodu is PDP 100%. This is one of the characteristics of PDP members, blocking anyone who speaks the truth.”
Kemisola Adekunle tried to make Mr. Momodu see reasons why blocking people is not the most idealistic thing to do. “How would you get feed backs on your posts when you block people that don’t support your views? I’m sure those ones you block are those who don’t submit to your views.”
Ibn Hanbal says Mr. Momodu should act more upright. “It is so sad Dele that you block people. With your civility and education, I expect you to correct him.
“Perhaps he may live in future to be a version of you. Give people opportunity to learn from you. Don’t block them because you famous. Fame is a gift,” he said.
David Olatunde posed a question to Mr. Momodu. “How many people would he block? He doesn’t need to block anyone.”
There were others who blasted Mr. Momodu because he built his career on criticizing people and he was not blocked.
“The man is a joke, he should not be taken seriously at all. He has insulted a lot of respectable people in the past and was never blocked. He has lost any integrity he had left.”
It is nice to hear that the Tribunal in Osun has declared Mr Ademola Adeleke of PDP as the winner of the election held last year.
At least, this now proves wrong the awkward thesis of those who said a tyrant and dictator has cowed the courts. It proves that putting a judge or some judges on trial does not, in anyway, mean the judiciary is in danger. We can all be proud that we have a fairly courageous judiciary.
The judgement of the Tribunal is also a landmark one in which the Chairman of the Panel wrote a minority judgement that disagreed with rest member of the a panel. I haven’t not heard or seen this before.
I rejoice with the winner of this battle, but they must learn to wait till the end of the war before they pour libation to Bacchus, the epicurean patron saint of a moment like this. Now that they are certainly going to use panegyric adjectives to ornament the judiciary for this temporary victory, as it is sure, the case will end at the supreme court, they must not scream ‘blue murder’ if they meet a disappointing outcome at the higher court.
They should remember that Mama Taraba of APC also won at the Tribunal but she never became governor, Dakuku Peterside of Rivers APC won at the Appeal court but it was a mere shadow, as the Supreme Court dashed his hope and upheld Wike. Some victories are like cheese ball, they don’t last in the mouth.
Warnings like this are useful because ours is nation of emotionalism where logic in a scarce commodity.
His Excellency, Mr. President, The Comedian.
By Owei Lakemfa.
Ukrainians who went to the polls this Sunday and elected the 41-year old comedian, Volodymyr Zelensky as President over the billionaire incumbent, Petro Poroshenko, are not looking forward to comic shows. The state of their beloved country is not even tragi-comic; it is a tragedy. But having sought solution through professional politicians like former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and being disappointed. And having looked up to otherwise serious-minded business moguls like Poroshenko, and found comedy, in desperation, they turned to a professional comedian, hoping for serious results that will extricate their country from its present quagmire.
Ukraine, having unwisely become a pawn in the East-West politics, losing part of its territory including the Crimea, bogged down with Civil War, a fractious politics and a clueless band of politicians in Kiev, needed a new direction. Three-time World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Vitali Klitscko had stepped into the political ring, but the best he could do was end up as Mayor of Kiev. However, as the Ukrainian National Anthem proclaims: “The glory and the will of Ukraine has not yet died” so they turned to a political virgin. Zelensky’s only claim to political experience is acting the part of an ordinary school teacher in a television series “Servant of the People” who somehow becomes the country’s President and goes on to fight corruption and a hopeless political class. With the country in near comatose, he heeded calls to turn his comic drama into a reality show on the country’s stage. Fiction began to turn reality. He lacked a serious programme or manifesto, but promised to perform better than the professional politicians. He simply named his political party after his show: Servant of the People. He had nothing to lose, but fame to gain, and the Ukrainian voters who wanted anybody but the old guard, in the first round, gave him 30.4 percent of the votes while Poroshenko had 16 percent and Tymoshenko, 14.2 percent.
A hapless political system watched as Zelensky trounced President Poroshenko in the April 21 rerun, taking 73.22 percent of the votes leaving Poroshenko with 24.45 percent .
In defeat, the outgoing President is trying to chart a path of failure for Zelensky. He told the President–elect that he must ensure that his programmes: “ will be in line with the national interests of Ukraine and that will bring us closer to the European Union and NATO.” Who told Poroshenko bringing Ukraine under the European Union and NATO are in the country’s national interest? That programme which he has pursued in his five years as President, did not win him re-election. More importantly, it was partly the attempt to impose NATO and the EU on the country that led to the on-going Civil War and break away of the Crimea. In contrast, Ukraine’s national interest is first to bring the Civil War to an end and reconcile the country. This will require seeing through the “Normandy Format” a four nation; Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France peace process to reconcile the country.
Africans say a man who allows his head to be used to crack coconut, will not partake of the feast; this was what Ukraine did by allowing herself to be used as a pawn in the EU/NATO Post-Cold War politics with Russia.
Ukraine which gained independence in 1991 following the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) had opted for Western Democracy which is supposed to be periodic elections based on majority rule.
The country’s present crisis began in 2004 when Viktor Yanukovych, a Pro-Russian politician from Eastern Ukraine, won the Presidential run-off elections. But mass protests erupted in Western Ukraine against his victory, and the elections were aborted. In the new elections, the Pro-West candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, was declared winner.
Six years later, Yanukovych again won, and this time was sworn in. But in 2014 there were again protests against him, this time for refusing to sign a trade deal with the EU; the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement. During these protests mainly in Western Ukraine, called the Euromaidan Protests, the Yanukovych government was overthrown. For Eastern Ukraine, the coup was unacceptable and it decided to secede. The first part that successfully did so was the Crimea in March, 2014 while the other parts took up arms one month later in what has become the Ukrainian Civil War. Some 13,000 lives have been lost in that war.
The incident that has elicited the greatest controversy in this war, was the July 17, 2014 downing of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) during the Battle of Shakhtarsk. The Boeing 777-200ER aircraft was carrying 283 passengers and 15 crew. All 298 persons were killed. It is uncertain why the Ukrainian government gave clearance to the aircraft to fly over a war zone. It is also unclear whether the rebels knew the aircraft over flying the battle field was a commercial one and not an Ukrainian military aircraft. Both sides traded blames, and continued with their war.
Poroshenko whose government authorized the flight of the Malaysian Airline over the war zone, had come into office on June 7, 2014. He promised to end the Civil War, but actually added petrol to the raging flames. In May 2015, he appointed the former President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili as Governor of Odessa, perhaps to spite Russia. Saakashvili had led little Georgia in the August 7-12, 2008 quixotic war with Russia. On November 7, 2016, Saakashvili resigned, accusing Poroschenko of personally promoting corruption in Odessa and the country. On July 26, 2017, Poroshenkho retaliated by stripping Saakashvili of his Ukrainian citizenship, rendering him stateless.
In another drama, this time, quite bizarre, Poroshenko got personally involved in the May 29, 2018 fake assassination of Ukrainian-based Russian dissident journalist, Arkady Babchenko. Twenty four hours later, the Poroshenko government told an enraged world that the ‘assassination’ was fake, and meant as a propaganda stunt against Russia.
In November, 2018, the Poroshenkho government sent a tug boat, the Yani Kapu, and two gunboats, the Nikopol and the Berdyansk, to breach the Russian maritime defences in the Crimea. When the Ukrainian sailors were rounded up, Poroshenko declared a state of emergency in his country. It is unclear what such childish actions were meant to achieve; push NATO into a military confrontation with Russia?
Poroshenko lived under the illusion that he was perpetually at war with Russia. He asked: “Who is my opponent? I am not ashamed to say it openly – this opponent is Putin.” But in reality, his opponent turned out to be an Ukrainian comedian. Zelensky has the opportunity of bringing peace to his country, fighting entrenched corruption, rebuilding the economy in the interest of the poor and running a government centred on Ukraine’s national interests.