During the campaign silence

One of the Hungarian "campaign experts" explained the other day that there is campaign silence everywhere in the world. Even in the United States, he added. He explained what he meant: in the United States on the day of the elections in front of the polling stations representatives of different parties (or in the case of local elections normally the candidates themselves) must stand at least ten meters away from the building. Well, I wouldn’t call that campaign silence. In the meantime on election day party activists keep tabs on who has voted and who hasn’t, phone people and urge them to go to the polls. They offer rides to people who have difficulties reaching the polling stations. All these activities are illegal in Hungary. In the United States mobilization of the electorate is the main aim: getting out the vote, as it is called.

State laws vary somewhat, but basically in order to vote you first have to register. Each community has an elected offficial who is in charge of the registration of voters. Normally you have three choices: you can register as a republican, as a democrat, or as an independent. This way the two parties have a fair idea of their popular bases and have a pretty accurate list of their likely supporters. This is what seems to be missing in Hungary. In my opinion, the absence of lists of supporters must make mobilization of the electorate very difficult. So parties cheat, and I am not even surprised that they do. Campaigns are expensive, and it is a waste of time and money to send campaign literature to people who will throw leaflets straight into the wastepaper basket or who will slam down the telephone as soon as they hear the wrong voice at the other end of the line.

I remember the outcry during the last two elections when Fidesz activists, usually pairs of young people, went from apartment to apartment and made notes on their reception. Meanwhile the worried anti-Fidesz inhabitants watched the youngsters with great suspicion. They feared that something terrible would happen to them if the Fidesz won the elections. That’s why I think that it would be a great deal better to gather this information openly. Secrecy gives rise to suspicion. Not a good thing.

Tomorrow the polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. During the day, one will be able to follow the percentage of eligible voters who have cast their votes by a certain time. One can follow the progress here: http://www.valasztas.hu/main_hu.html

Meanwhile we can all guess how many people will show up and how many "yes" votes there will be.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Vándorló
Guest

The direct link for those that don’t speak Hungarian is http://www.valasztas.hu/en/07/7_0.html

Vándorló
Guest

Just came across this in HVG online http://hvg.hu/itthon/20080309_nepszavazas_szavazas_szavazokorok.aspx?s=hl It seems that for Hungarians in Washington, Brazil, Toronto and even Havanna (!!!) the prospect of paying 300 forints for a doctor’s visit is crucially important to their expat lives. I’m sure the vast majority of those 3,275 expats that asked for the proxy vote will be voting ‘yes’ i.e. against the reforms.

Vándorló
Guest

I don’t think there is any doubt that the vote will be valid now. As of 3 minutes ago close to 27% had voted, which is roughly 2.2 million people (8 000 000 * .2692 = 2 153 600). With six hours to go I’m sure the extra 2-3% will turn out. The only question now is whether enough of the people in favor of the reforms bothered to haul themselves out to counter-balance the self interested.

Odin's lost eye
Guest
I am afraid the words of the Hungarian “campaign experts” are not true everywhere in the world. In the UK every candidate at an election may have Two ‘Tellers’ at each polling station. These people are not allowed to be in a position where the can see into the room where the voting is taking place. They must NOT stop people going into the polling station. They may ask people leaving the polling station for either their name or poll card number, nothing else. People do not have to answer them. The tellers must be easily identifiable as ‘tellers’ and not part of the polling station staff. Very often the tellers for different parties will share information as it is to the benefit of all candidates to ‘get the voters to turn out and vote’. Every ½ hour or so a runner will come from the candidates H.Q. and collect the latest returns from the polling stations. At the H.Q. the candidate’s friends/party workers will use this information to gauge the likely outcome –this is using information from the canvas returns obtained by party workers who have plodded the streets knocking on doors. The resulting information may well be used… Read more »
Vándorló
Guest

Well, since ‘king Vic’s smug face is going to be plastered over tomorrow’s news it’s a shame he hasn’t gone the way of some of his army of voters that were dropping like flies on their way to the polling booth. This article provides a brief history of voters who lost it all in the name of democracy http://www.hirado.hu/cikk.php?id=265873
The irony has to be to lose your life voting for a change in health care provision. Safer at home.

Vándorló
Guest

Well the exit polls are out and it looks like there was a significantly higher than expected turn out of 50-51%, which is great for democracy, but lousy for the country.
That is the problem with democracy, you have to suffer the tyranny of the majority.
On all three questions we are looking at a propertional split of about 41:7 for Yes:No votes.
A clear win it would seem. Gyurcsany and Szili are both promising swift responses either way, but not quite admiting full defeat (http://www.mno.hu/portal/547691)
I’ll be changing my hard currency that I have been holding on to just as soon as the terror hits the markets here. I’ve been waiting for 2 months now like a vulture ready to pick over the bones of the carcass that this referendum will leave.
There’s always a bright side.

NWO
Guest
I am a big supporter of the “reforms”, and my biggest qualm (leaving aside that the MSZP has been incompetent in implementing the reforms unlike the budget consolidation where the Government since 2006 has been very successful) is that the reforms are not nearly radical enough. Having said this, given the poll results, I think the PM should really consider resigning and calling a new election. This will, of course, not happen because it would be electoral suicide. Nevertheless, I think it would be delicious irony (and one the Hu. people deserve) if the opposition were required to form a new government now. Given the complete breakdown in the Hu. domestic bond market and Hungary’s very limited ability-if any- to tap the Eurobond markets, there are no real sources of capital available to fund an increase in government expenditures. If FIDESZ came to power now, Viktor would truly be ‘hoisted with his own petard’. Hungary then could suffer the total crisis it sadly seems to need to experience before any lasting changes are implemented. On the other hand, if the Government and PM remain, they will have little room to act to and follow through on the necessary reforms needed.… Read more »
Viking
Guest

I agree with NWO on the subject of referendums, quoting the British Tory politician Chris Patten in 2003 when discussing the possibility of a referendum in the United Kingdom on the European Union Constitution:
—I think referendums are awful. They were the favorite form of plebiscitary democracy of Mussolini and Hitler. They undermine Westminster [parliament]…I think referendums are fundamentally anti-democratic in our system and I wouldn’t have anything to do with them.—
A politician/Government that does radical changes is never popular during the initial and hard period. Just compare with the other “Hungarian” big wig – Sarkozy, his popularity rating is down in the cellar now.

wpDiscuz