How Are Illinois Elections and Mexican Elections Alike?

By  Reboot Illinois 04/30/15

When I think about the latest effort to stop gerrymandering, it reminds me of covering my first election. Just about 30 years ago, I had a terrific opportunity to cover my first one just after I’d graduated from journalism school at Eastern Illinois University.

I was a Pulliam Fellow (meaning a post-graduate special intern) for a summer at the Arizona Republic and the international desk needed some people down near the Mexican border to keep an eye on things for a local election one weekend.

Yes, my first election working as a reporter was in Mexico. On a Sunday. They have elections on Sundays in Mexico, presumably so more voters participate. Election Day is a national holiday and booze sales were banned on Election Day back then.

Hmmm, interesting ideas for boosting civic participation, yes?

Anyway, in the small border town I was watching, people started getting agitated because the story was spreading that as their friends and neighbors went to vote, very early in the day, they’d stuff their paper ballots into the box and could feel it already was full.

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