Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Over 100% Voter Turnout, the Envy of Any Democracy

When the protests in Iran started, there were some questions about the goals of the protesters. Were they angry about losing an election, voting fraud or the entire political system. The Iranian Government claimed that with over 85% voter turn out Iranians unquestionably believed in the system.

The election results have been officially certified twice before the Guardian Council investigated the allegations of fraud. They have found 50 cities where the voter turnout was more than 100%, bringing into question the validity of 3 million ballots. Voter turnout in democratic countries has been on the decline for centuries. Governments have tried all kinds of electoral reforms to try to increase voter turnout. Now that the 85% number has been proven false, it can no longer used as a ringing endorsement of Iran's political system.

The Council is taking the approach it is not enough ballots to change the results and therefore insignificant. They are not willing to consider that there may be even more problem they have not investigated or uncovered. From the beginning the Council worked to minimize the number of irregularities they would look into. This guaranteed that no matter what they found they would not have to consider over turning the election results.

The election fails all democratic principles of open and fair elections. It is up to the leaders of the world to call them on it. Unfortunately, the United States has there own issues of voting irregularities determining the outcome of the Presidential Election. Even with the new information President Obama will continue to sit on the sidelines until he can safely pick the winning side.

Iran's version of democracy is a farce from top to bottom. From the process of picking candidates, to interference by religious leaders, to stuff ballot boxes. The question is still unclear if protesters are upset with possibly being cheated out of the rightful President or frustrated by the system that only provides the illusion of democracy.

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