27 April 2009
A Total Waste of Everything
Yesterday I sat at a voting table receiving ballots for Ecuador's latest elections. This was the first time that foreign residents were asked to sit at tables and were allowed to vote, so it was all new for me and many others. I know this may sound pre-historic to many of you, but I actually debated whether to vote or not. All of the incumbents were overwhelming favorites and the media teams up with parties to smear, defame and otherwise debunk all other candidates. It is so childish that it makes me want to give democracy a swift kick towards its long overdue upgrade so that it follows along with humanity's constant evolution.
However this is not a rant about democracy. No, this is an ecological rant. You see, people had to elect so many candidates that they were given six different ballots to fill out. Two of them had over 200 candidates each from which people had to elect 14 and 17 of them respectively, each ballot a meter long. I did a little experiment and put all of the ballots end to end and they measured over three meters in length! A ballot package was prepared for each of the 10,529,765 eligible voters, which means that a whopping (approx) 31,589,295 meters of colored paper was printed and used for the ballots!
That is not all. We had to count the 147 votes left at our table and put the results in the minutes. We had to fill in rough drafts and then double copies of the results from each ballot and then fill in summary reports of each. To make a long story short, I counted the papers and there were over 300 sheets for each polling station meant to receive 200 voters. We counted votes and filled in these minutes for 5 full hours!
So, if we add another half meter of paper to each eligible voter, this comes out to 36.854.177.5 meters of colored paper printed for one day of democracy in a banana republic! Just to have some fun with these numbers, that is 92% of the circumference of the earth, or merely 3220 kilometers short of circuling the entire world!
So, in the end we exercised our right to vote. And we wasted a lot of time, money, resources and trees! Democracy needs to evolve now!