The one stop election

Tired of the presidential campaign already? All those candidates, the incessant debates and speeches, the position papers, the partisan bickering, the uncertainty of it all?

You might want to give Cuba a try. Those Cubans know how to put on a seamless election.

There’s no campaigning, only one party and, to really streamline the process, only one pre-approved candidate for each district. And it’s all over in one day.

Cubans went to the polls Sunday to elect — “ratify” would be the more correct verb — 614 candidates to the National Assembly of People’s Power. The final turnout will be 95 percent or better. It’s not that Cubans are inordinately civic-minded. They turn out because they want to hold onto their jobs and apartments.

A national commission screens all the candidates recommended by neighborhood organizations and picks the ones it likes based on such qualifications as “revolutionary history.” Fidel Castro made the cut and he hasn’t been seen for over 18 months.

With Cubans lacking a choice of candidates, the only protest vote available is to turn in a blank ballot. Theoretically, a candidate loses who fails to get 50 percent of the vote, but no one remembers that ever happening.

Cuba’s vice president, Carlos Lage, defended the process to the Associated Press: “These elections without fraud, without money nor propaganda campaigns …” He’s got us there. With only one candidate, there’s no point in stuffing the ballot box.