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Buenos Aires Hours | Mule or boat – election workers go to extremes in Argentina

More than 14,000 vehicles, as well as mules, horses and boats will be deployed to distribute more than 100,000 ballot boxes across the country this weekend, with election officials going the extra mile to ensure that citizens in the areas the most remote of the country can vote.

According to a report prepared by the Argentine post office, Correo Oficial de la República Argentina (official post office of the Argentine Republic), which is responsible for the logistics behind the vote, more than 63,000 workers are responsible for facilitating the transfer of goods. ballot boxes, electoral materials and Covid-19 health protocol kits to ensure the smooth running of the PASO primaries.

More than 17,000 polling stations are allowed across the country for voters to visit, state news agency Telam reported on Friday.

In mule …

Some election officials will go to the extreme to make sure every vote is counted – for example, reaching El Durazno in Jujuy province requires a 12-hour mule ride.

“The national factor reaches 17,092 polling stations, even those located in the most inaccessible regions and which require a more complex logistics operation; this is the case for places located in Tilcara, Jujuy, where [Correo Argentino] the workers, along with the Argentine army, will carry out the transfer of electoral materials on mule back to four establishments, crossing more than 80 kilometers between the hills and the Quebrada de Humahuaca for more than 12 hours to reach the schools of Abra Mayo, Molulo, El Durazno y Yala Monte Carmelo, ”Correo Argentino said in a statement.

A similar operation will take place in Calamuchita, in the province of Córdoba, where the polling station with the fewest voters in Argentina is located.

To bring a single urn to the Escuela Provincial Florentino Ameghino, located at the foot of Mount Champaquí, workers will have to cross the highest peak of the local mountain range on the back of a mule. It’s an epic seven-hour journey that includes dirt roads, streams and rivers – and all of this to get just 13 voters to vote.

“This type of deployment using mules, horses and even boats is taking place simultaneously in different parts of the country,” said Mariana Aballay, director of electoral services at Correo Argentino. “They start their journey at different times depending on the distance, the number of schools to be reached and the difficulty of the route.”

… or by boat

The operation even takes water. In order to reach the voters of Isla Apipé Grande, in Ituzaingó, in the province of Corrientes, on the border with Paraguay, the workers of Correo Argentino must travel 10 kilometers along the Paraná River. After disembarking, a 30 kilometer journey in a 4×4 all-terrain vehicle over difficult terrain awaits you, until the ballot boxes eventually reach their destination: Escuela n ° 752 Prefectura Naval Argentina, ya la Escuela n ° 419 Guardacostas Río Iguazú.

Elsewhere, in another arm of the Paraná River, north of the province of Buenos Aires, Correo Argentino must take to sea to reach the islands of the San Fernando delta. Workers will board a Naval Prefecture boat for a two-hour journey carrying nine ballot boxes to Escuela No. 20 Remedios Escalada de San Martín and Escuela de Educación Secundaria Técnica No. 1.

On each of these special operations, a postman will be responsible for protecting the ballot boxes. Members of the security forces will also be on site to accompany them, further trips requiring an overnight stay.

With the polling stations closed on Sunday evening, it’s time for the return journey – a journey that can be “arduous” and “difficult,” Correo Argentino said, given that it will have to take place in the dark of the night.


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Erica Gill

The author Erica Gill

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