Joe Mathews thinks Mexico can teach us something about politics - and specifically about conducting elections. According to a column published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Mexico has made "self-government" an operational principle that goes beyond the theoretical:
Of all the fascinating examples of Mexican democratic practice, one stands out — Mexico’s faith in everyday people to run elections.
Mexico has a system for finding election workers that is unique in the world: It holds a national lottery to draw those workers from among its citizens. The lottery system began in 1997, during Mexico’s democratic transition, as a trust-building measure for a country plagued by corruption and impunity.
The lottery draws one date and one letter. If the date is your birthday, and if the letter is the first letter of your second name, it’s your turn to work the elections.
The process has three stages. First, recruiters reach out, even visiting your home, to confirm your interest. Second, you attend training sessions before the election. Finally, on election day, you and your neighbors run the balloting in a precinct, count votes, and fill out official totals.
"Self-government" means that we have to get involved "ourselves" - and that means directly involved!
Democratic self-government does NOT mean that we elect the people, who hire the people, who run our lives.
Let's not forget that!
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