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February 3rd, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) Prison and election officials this year came up with a clever idea to encourage the country’s more than 7,000 prisoners to exercise their right to vote: cigarettes.
Yesterday, in exchange for prisoners’ votes in Costa Rica’s general elections, prisoners were given four cigarettes after casting their ballot behind bars.
The ploy seemed to have worked at the San Sebastian prison.
One prisoner, serving 6 years for robbery, said he wants the next president to remember the incarcerated. “I want the [new president] to attend to the injustices of those living behind bars. I’m trying to use the time to go out and adapt to society,” he said.
None of Costa Rica’s presidential candidates campaigned at the prison.
All Costa Rican citizens at least 18 years of age are eligible to vote – including convicts, those behind bars and those with criminal records.
Costa Ricans headed to the polls yesterday to elect their next president, two vice presidents, and 57 members of the Legislative Assembly.
Centrist Luis Guillermo Solis took a surprise lead against ruling party candidate, Johnny Araya but both failed to obtain the necessary 40% vote required to win. The pair will head for runoff elections on April 6th.