Nicaragua: About that ink-stained thumb



Ernesto's Thumb, Managua

Many Nicaraguans are walking around this week with ink-stained thumbs—conspicuous proof that they took part in the country’s general election. It strikes me as a badge of honor (an ephemeral one, for sure), which silently tells everyone they come across in the days that follow: I voted.

Historically, staining a finger with indelible ink is also a security measure used to prevent casting a ballot at more than one poll.

I don’t know of anywhere in the United States where such a measure is taken. Wouldn’t it make for more interesting post-election conversation if you could see who voted and who didn’t?

I used to think that the right to vote also meant the option to abstain. But as I’ve learned in my brief time here, the right should be exercised at all cost.

Claudia's Hands, Managua

[N.B. This is not an official Department of State website or blog. The views and information presented are my own and do not represent the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State.]

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