Election day’s an alcohol-free holiday for Bolivians

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — There’s almost no traffic in the streets of Bolivia’s capital. Supermarkets are shuttered. Movies are closed. Pedestrians stroll through open-air markets set up on car-free avenues, then gather to picnic with the extended family.

It’s election day, and in Bolivia that means a forcible — if alcohol-free — holiday for a country that imposes unusually strict restrictions on voting-time activities.

Critics often say the U.S. system of Tuesday elections makes it tough for working voters to reach the polls. Bolivians have no such excuse — at least unless they live more than walking distance from a ballot box.

Many nations ban election-day alcohol and political proselytizing. Some prohibit large gatherings. A few ban most vehicular traffic. Bolivia did all of those for Sunday’s presidential vote.

Categories: International News