ˇAtención, Peruanos! Don't forget to vote
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Peruvian nationals in Hawai'i have been told they must vote in their country's April 9 general election, even if it means doing so from Honolulu.
If they don't vote, they risk being fined the equivalent of about $40, according to Alvin Adams, the honorary Peru consul in Hawai'i.
Peruvians have additional incentive to vote. Those leaving the voting booth receive a holographic voting stamp on their national identity cards, known as DNIs. The stamp is necessary for Peruvians to conduct any transactions with either a Peruvian government agency or private businesses, Adams said. A Peruvian can't even cash a check in Peru without one, he said.
A person not participating in the election must pay the fine before receiving a stamp.
Adams estimates there are 200 and 400 Peruvian nationals living in Hawai'i. The 2000 U.S. Census reported 442 people who listed themselves as being of Peruvian descent, but how many of them are Peruvian citizens is not known.
Voting here will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 9 at St. Clement's Church, 1515 Wilder Ave., Makiki.
A Peruvian may submit a request to be excused from the fine, with the appropriate support documents such as a doctor's certificate and a copy of a DNI card, to the local honorary consul before the election.
"There is some hardship, no doubt, for those on the other islands who can't come here and either face a fine or don't get the excuse," he said. Adams said he will try to help those with legitimate excuses but added that the final decision for each individual case must be made by the Jurado Nacional de Elecciones, the chief election office in Lima.
Next weekend's election is the first national vote in Peru since 2001.
Nationalist candidate Ollanta Humala was reported the front-runner in a poll released yesterday. Center-right lawyer Lourdes Flores was in second place and Alan Garcia, a former center-left president, was third. They are running to succeed the outgoing president, Alejandro Toledo.
Reach Gordon Y.K. Pang at firstname.lastname@example.org.