While few Kentuckians expected to vote, Kentuckian watches scores of Tunisians cast ballots

10/25/2011 09:53 PM

The official estimates say about a quarter of voters will bother to cast ballots in Kentucky’s statewide elections Nov. 8 — the 55th time over the last 216 years Kentuckians have gone to the polls to choose their leaders.

Half a world away on Sunday, scores of Tunisians waited patiently to vote in their newborn democracy. In fact, 90 percent of the roughly 7 million voters in the north African country turned out to vote.

“They’ve had elections before, but this was the first legitimate election. A lot of people came to the polls very enthusiastic, ready to cast their vote for the first time,” said Kentuckian Jen Krimm, who is in the Tunisian capital of Tunis blogging and researching a book on the Arab spring.

“I met a young woman who took her grandmother to the polls — her grandmother who is 75 years old and had never gone to vote and was crying when she was filling out her ballot. She was so happy she got to vote in this point in her life,” said Krimm, who is the former communications director for Kentucky Democratic Congressman Ben Chandler.

Krimm is writing about the role of women as well as young people in the Arab spring, which began nearly a year ago in Tunisia. And what started with a fruit vendor setting himself on fire to protest the corrupt and oppressive economic and political environment, started a domino effect of revolutions that toppled regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

Krimm spoke on Pure Politics about her observations of the new democracy, as well as what Tunisians’ fresh excitement can remind Kentuckians about the democratic process.

Krimm has been blogging about the Tunisian elections on her site, VoicesoftheArabSpring.org.

She interviewed voters Sunday about the historic first election.

And on Tuesday, Krimm covered the celebration of the moderate Islamist Party, Ennahda, which won a plurality of seats in the new government.

You can view her video here:

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