News / Africa

Libyans Upset Over Restrictive Voting Abroad

Libyans Upset Over Restrictive Voting Abroadi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 06, 2012 12:17 PM
Libyans are voting freely for the first time in more than 60 years. They will elect a 200-member General National Congress to write a constitution and serve as an interim government. Libyans living in the United States started casting their ballots Tuesday and will continue through Saturday night. But as VOA's Carolyn Presutti discovered, some Libyans say the process is flawed and disenfranchises many who live abroad.
Libyans are voting freely for the first time in more than 60 years.
Libyans are voting freely for the first time in more than 60 years. They will elect a 200-member General National Congress to write a constitution and serve as an interim government.  Libyans living in the United States started casting their ballots Tuesday and will continue through Saturday night. Some Libyans say the process is flawed and disenfranchises many who live abroad.

Few Libyans remember days like this when they could vote.  And, it counted.

“Just saying that -- Libyan government.  'Voting for the Libyan government' has a nice, sweet ring to it,” said Libyan voter Adam Sbita.

Overseas Locations for Libyan Voting

United States
Germany
Canada
United Arab Emirates
Jordan
Britain

Each country has one balloting location, except for Jordan, which has two.
Voters say the ink on their finger reminds them of the blood of Libyans who died, liberating their country from 42 years of autocratic rule by Moammar Gadhafi.

“It’s like the taste of freedom," voter Naji Abdelwanis exclaimed.  It’s like a feeling I cannot describe.”

Mohamed Gibani will not experience that same feeling.  He lives in California and cannot travel to Washington.

“Myself and four children that’s $5,000, almost $5,000 -- that’s a lot of money to cast a vote,” he said. 

Washington is the only polling place for Libyans in the United States.  And voters must appear in person. There are no electronic or mail-in ballots.

Just one location for what the embassy estimates are 25,000 Libyans living in the United States.  The ambassador says he requested eight different locations, but was turned down by the High National Election Commission.

“The time and the pressure does not serve us to have more than one location,” explained US Ambassador to Libya, Ali Aujali.

Yet, Egypt in the first election since its revolution, held balloting in five different U.S. cities and 141 countries.  And, absentee ballots were accepted by mail.  

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) was hired to conduct the Libyan elections abroad.  The intergovernmental organization is much better known for its support of humane migration policies, than for its election work.  Sources say IOM was paid a multi-million-dollar contract to hold elections in six countries. 

“IOM is the implementing partner, but all the legal and policy decisions are taken by the HNEC,” said Katy Collin, U.S. voting coordinator.

Despite VOAs numerous attempts, the HNEC--the High National Election Commission--could not be reached for comment.  Libyan Ali Mohammed Alawaj says he might protest that lack of openness and not drive four hours to vote in Washington.  

“They say, okay, let’s do it in phases…maybe we’ll start with a little bit -- 10 percent will vote in the U.S. now but next year will be 80 percent, But that doesn’t work.  Because democracy freedom and the people who died in Libya didn’t ask for that," he said. "They want 100 percent freedom.  100 percent democracy.”

Others say things will get better. They know that change happens...because this was nine months ago…..and this is now.

Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid