Skye Christensen On U.S. Election Day, A Look At How Others Vote

Publication Date: 
4 Nov 2008

While voters withstand long lines and the elements to cast their ballot, Skye Christensen of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, a nonprofit group that helps countries run democratic elections, talks about how other countries run their elections.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

On this Election Day, in order to vote, we may have touched a screen, we may have filled in an oval with a number two pencil, we may have tugged on a lever with a satisfying mechanical "kachunk." We were curious about how people vote in other parts of the world, and we've asked Skye Christensen to come talk about that. He's with the nonpartisan International Foundation for Electoral Systems. That's a nonprofit group that helps countries run democratic elections. Welcome to the program.

Mr. SKYE CHRISTENSEN (Election Cycles Specialist, International Foundation for Electoral Systems): Thank you.

BLOCK: Why don't you give us some examples of countries voting without modern machinery?

Mr. CHRISTENSEN: One of the most famous examples is Gambia, which is just way over in West Africa. And they vote with marbles. So as you go into the polling station, the poll worker will give you a marble. And you go behind the booth, and you just drop it into a bin. And at the end of the day, they'll look which bin has the most marbles, and that will be the winner.

BLOCK: And presumably, each bin would have a photograph or an image of the party or the person that you are voting for?

Mr. CHRISTENSEN: Yeah, each - the bins will be labeled with the candidate that you're voting for.

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