Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What's Bahasa Indonesia for "hanging chad"?

It's standard practice for the U.S. government and various NGOs to send election observers to dodgy developing-world nations, to make sure everything's on the up and up. Well, America had better be on its best behavior, because Indonesia is sending 10 professional journalists to monitor the McCain-Obama smackdown on Nov. 4.

It's a joint project of Boston's Emerson College and the U.S. State Department, and is being headed up by Dr. Gregory Payne. Emerson faculty will team up with veteran journalists like broadcaster Shellie Karabell, in giving the visiting students a few tools to cover next year's Yudhoyono-Megawati matchup in their home country.

In-house prep will take place Oct. 24-28, and then students will fan out to battleground states like Ohio, Virginia and Missouri to see the madness firsthand. If they're looking for a flawless election in the world's foremost democracy, though, I shudder to think about what they're going to see. Voting stations crawling with lawyers from both sides, squabbling over fraud allegations? Diebold machines breaking down, being hacked, or spitting out incorrect results? God forbid, more hanging-chad nonsense from Florida?

Yikes. The American electoral system is like sausage; I'm not sure I want to see every step of it being made. But transparency is a good thing, I suppose, so best of luck to our Indonesian visitors ... and maybe they can teach the lazy American media a thing or two about covering elections, as well.

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1 comment:

Eric Setiawan said...

well, that's a new one. need to google it for a while and found this