In the New York Times' "Afghans Studying the Art of Voting" story, there's this passage about the importance of knowing the presidential candidates' faces (I quoted it in the previous post as well):
Without modern communications, villagers like Mr. Muhammad do not recognize the candidates they are supposed to vote for. So for the many voters who are both illiterate and do not recognize the faces of candidates, voting is a real problem. Mr. Muhammad said he knew none of the faces.
Voting could also be "a real problem" if, in addition to not being able to connect a face to its name, voters don't really know what their candidates stand for. Actually, that's the real problem. And the more candidates are running, the bigger the problem gets, and the more money is wasted.
In my country, Ukraine, the presidential election is scheduled for Oct. 31, 2004. Inshallah, I'll be able to go down to Kyiv to vote. I do know how I'll vote and why.
So far there're 24 candidates, a few may get disqualified by the end of the month, and, though it may be hard to believe looking at all their faces, the presidential race in Ukraine is actually as compact as the one in the States: Victor Yushchenko versus Victor Yanukovych. Yushchenko is a former prime minister, with a solid banking and economics background; Yanukovych is the current prime minister, with two (revoked) criminal convictions and very unimpressive language skills. To choose between the two is as easy as to choose between Kerry and Bush.