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Iraqi children can ink their fingers when their parents vote

Reader comment on item: Iraq's Cosmetic Election

Submitted by John in Michigan, USA (United States), Mar 13, 2010 at 20:29

From the photo caption:

"this Iraqi girl inked her finger, indicating she voted, even though she is too young to vote."

I think that part of the photo caption may lead to an incorrect impression. Hans von Spakovsky's blog entry over at National Review quotes an unnamed, official election monitor who is personally known to von Spakovsky:

"Three things stood out for me: first, the number of women who were voting, especially young women; second, seeing the sea of ballot boxes full of voted ballots waiting to be counted; and third, the number of families bringing in their children just to stick their fingers in the ink and to teach them about voting and democracy – the kids were so proud – gives me hope for this country"

I see no reason to believe this election monitor is incorrect about children being permitted to ink their fingers. If Dr. Pipes or other readers have specific, conflicting information on this point, please include it.

Suppose in a worse case the standards are lax, and anyone and everyone are permitted and even encouraged to ink their fingers (even without voting)...is this really a problem? It creates a powerful, visible symbol of public enthusiasm for voting, and it doesn't affect the vote tally one bit.

As to Dr. Pipes larger point about the prospects for enduring democracy in Iraq, I very much hope he is wrong and at times fear he might be right. Only time will tell.

Submitting....

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