To the Editor:
I don’t pretend to be an expert on election procedures in the United States, or across the world, but as a returned Peace Corps volunteer, I would like to communicate my thoughts on the recent presidential election in light of an experience I had while in Tanzania.
While serving in Tanzania from 2009-2011, I worked closely with my Tanzanian counterpart, Elifaraji M., to help facilitate his extraordinary efforts involving a voter registration drive prior to the 2010 general election.
I accompanied him on many day trips to villages where we would set up temporary headquarters and engage with as many of the villagers as possible in an attempt to document information such as age, birthplace and current address. Once documented, this information would enable them to receive a voting card to be used for the 2010 election. It was an absolutely wonderful, educational and worthwhile experience for myself, Elifaraji and everyone involved.
Much to our dismay, on the eve of the general election, members of a certain political party bought many of the cards held by the villagers for the price of one very basic meal consisting of rice and beans.
No longer possessing a voter card, these citizens were unable to cast a ballot in the election.
Extreme hunger is a widespread problem for many in East Africa, as it is for many in the U.S., and I certainly don’t criticize those who forfeited their ability to vote for the price of a meal. That said, I do point to this as a blatant example of election tampering.
When recalling and considering the above, I find it extremely discouraging and disheartening that Pres. Donald Trump, many elected officials of his political party, as well as many citizens claim, without a shred of evidence, that the recent US Presidential Election was marred by massive voter fraud.
After experiencing, firsthand, election irregularities, I find it incredulous and childish that there are those who would refute the outcome of the election based on delusionary and fantastical conspiracy theories in an attempt to undermine the will of the electorate. I certainly have serious concerns with social and economic justice issues in this country, but our election process is one that I respect, am proud of, and defend wholeheartedly.