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READING LEVEL 8

Voting Does Not Ensure Democracy

Renold Laurent

Voting is very important in a democratic process. It is a good way to express your opinion on the issues and decisions that influence your life. Voting contributes to the proper functioning of society. But democracies are not perfect.

My country Haiti has been democratic since 1990. In 1990, the people overthrew the dictator Duvalier and introduced universal suffrage. Every two years, we elect our local officials and one part of the Senate. Every four years we elect our congress people, and every five years we elect the president. The voting process, however, is very difficult.

The government often does not respect the election schedule, and the election results often do not reflect the voting. For several decades, the international community has influenced the vote count in a way that locals are not happy with. Often, after the vote, people protest against the result and it ends in violence. Therefore, from the outset, the elected officials have a deficit of legitimacy. Nowadays, voter participation is very low because people are tired of promises being broken.

Fair elections have not been held in Haiti for decades. How long can this situation continue?

Renold Laurent is a Haitian painter and poet based in Cambridge, MA. He is also student at the Community Learning Center in Cambridge, MA.

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