Saturday, April 08, 2006

Election Day: The Crux Of Living Abroad permanent link   0 comments
So tomorrow is the big day, Election Day! My wife and I are going to the polling station early in the morning, its only a short walk away from our apartment, and then spend the rest of the day with family, discussing the 'maybe's and maybe not's'.
It is mandatory in Peru to vote. If you don't you pay a fine. If you are a Peruvian citizen and live somewhere abroad, you either pay the fine or you are in for a little countryside trip, and make sure you filled that tank in your car.

This article gives us a nice example of the crux of living abroad:
Thousands of Peruvians in New Jersey aren't just expected – they are required – to vote in their homeland's elections on Sunday. And many of them aren't happy about it.

"It's abusive," said Daniel Jara, of Hackensack, who heads the statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. "With all the money we send back to Peru, we are still treated like second-class citizens."

While some Peruvians view compulsory voting as a good idea to promote democracy, many resent the fines they are required to pay when they fail to vote, especially when their government doesn't provide accessible voting sites.

More than 24,000 Peruvians in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are eligible, but they all have a single polling site -- at Eastside High School in Paterson.

The issue is so pertinent that it motivated Jara, a Peruvian-American, to become the first person to run for the Peruvian Congress from abroad.

read more here

(published at NorthJersey.com by Miguel Perez)

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