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Costa Rica's Election Day Is 'New Year's Eve, All Day Long'

Ingmar Zahorsky
Voters wait their turn at a polling place in Escazu, Costa Rica, in 2010. Voting is held on Sundays here, with shops and businesses closed. It's also compulsory, with a nominal fee assessed against those who don't cast a ballot.

Maybe it’s the busy primary election season that has us in this mindset, but we’ve been thinking a lot about voting lately. And our Going Places team wondered what it’s like in other parts of the world.

This week we hear from Danna Brumley, who is an experienced guide and world traveler, much like her husband, KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley.

She and her family wound up in Costa Rica during an election once. She says the country is already festive for travelers, but on Election Day, it's like "New Year's Eve, all day long."

Of course, Costa Rica's policies are mirrored in other countries, too. Brazil holds voting on the weekends, so more people can attend. Registration is automatic in Sweden. And many countries limit the length of the campaign season.


"Going Places" is KPLU's weekly exploration of travel. Danna Brumley is the co-founder of Earthbound Expeditions on Bainbridge Island, with her husband Matthew Brumley -- KPLU's regular travel expert. He'll be back next week.

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.