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“Party Hard” Or The Difference Between Belarus And US Elections Told By Belarusian Americans

Unlike in Belarus, voters are not entertained by singers or treated with pastries at polling stations in the USA. But the American election campaign can rival any show. Four Belarusians, who live in the US, have shared impressions about their voting experience with TUT.BY

“My stakes failed – Trump won. Even my American colleagues can not believe it.”

Alla Aleksashina moved to the States in 2002, and became a citizen in 2013. The woman, who lives in New Jersey, says she does not support any political party and makes her choices on the candidate’s programs.

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“I like Hillary more”, Alla admits. “She is pro-choice, while Republicans are against it, regardless of the circumstances under which the child was conceived.

I believe that a woman has the right to decide herself. Also, Clinton wanted to restrict carrying of weapons. Trump, on the contrary, said that this is an old law that should not be cancelled.” 

Belarusians do not believe that the result can be different from the one that always turns out.

The Belarusian adds she does not share all of Hillary’s policies, for example, those foreign policies, but still disliked Donald Trump more. So she chose Clinton, even though Alla’s husband voted for Trump.

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Alla says it was hard to vote because, unlike in Belarus, there’s no “Against all” box. People can cast their votes for alternative candidates, but since she knew little about them, Alla expressed her ideas on municipal issues.

Americans, especially young people, are very active voters. This is my first election in the US, before I voted only in Belarus. Belarusians do not believe that the result can be different from the one that always turns out.”

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Irina Krasnitskaya lives in New York. She says she had a positive feeling about American election because “it is the people who decide, and this makes one believe in the power of democracy”.

“I am studying in the MBA program right now and I work with very educated people. Political debates between my colleagues and friends seemed endless. One of the outstanding things about those discussions was the general posivite mood and a belief in the power of each and every vote. The feeling of the power of the nation, so to say.”

Ballots are put into special boxes installed near municipal buildings. And, to an average Belarusian’s surprise, there’re no police protecting them!

One more thing uncommon for Belarus is how people actually organize parties – first to watch debates, and then to follow the votes count.

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Volya Dzemka, a film director from Belarus, lives in Seattle.

“Personally I voted for Clinton. Of course, I have many doubts about her policy. But I find what Trump was proposing appalling.”

Volya cast her vote by mail. She finds it interesting that first people express thei will on municipal issues and only afterwards comes the voting fot the future head of state. Ballots can be sent back either by mail or put into special vote boxes installed near municipal buildings. And, to an average Belarusian’s surprise, there’re no police protecting those boxes!

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“People held a lot of discussions because no election like this one has happened before. Everyone takes genuine interest, and young people are very active”, Volya stresses.

Tatyana Moiseenko from New York moved the the USA 13 years ago. This election was her second one. Four years ago she voted for Barack Obama and the Democrats, but this time after a lot of thinking decided to support the other side.

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“I finally made up my mind only at the polling station. I could not choose Clinton. Yes, she is a very experienced politician, very eloquent and with a good education… But she is a pro-war politician, ready to fight with any coutry that is opposing the US. So I chose peace.”

Tatyana’s biggest surprise about the American election was that a voter does not need to submit a passport or an identity card to receive a ballot. “You just come, tell you name, and sign the list next to a photo of your signature. So cute!”

The Belarusian says that many of the people she knows were unhappy about both candidates. She believes it to be very sad that people had to choose from the worst.

“There were other candidates in the list. I’ve heard something about them – they would appeal to voters who disliked both Trump and Clinton. But I chose Trump – to show that even in the Democtatic state of New York there are many people who hate Clinton.”