Dear Sir,

Your article and letter on the actions of the Calvia town hall remind me of Boston City Hall nearly 40 years past. Living in Palma during the first post Franco election was so refreshing. Democracy burst into the air. It has now degenerated into hardball thuggery. In 1967 I volunteered evenings in a mayoralty campaign. The candidate asked if I had registered. “Yes, today.” “As a Republican?” “Yes.” “You're not registered.” He explained that in Boston all first time Rs were clerical 'errors.* He told me to return and check if my name was on the register. I did. Later. “Did you check?” “Yes.” “Did you see your name actually in the book?” “No, the clerk checked the book.” “You're not registered.” He gave me the name of the two party appointees to the Election Board and told me to contact them if I was refused access to the book. I returned. Asked to see my name. I was told it was there and that I was being a pest. I was refused physical access to the book. I got a commissioner who demanded that a citizen be shown the public record. The clerk angrily announced that he would register me. All this occurred while the mayor was busy helping to send civil rights activists to Mississippi to ensure blacks the right to vote. (Nineteen years later I was to force the clerk into early retirement, but that is another story. Republicans elephants have long memories.) Things have improved somewhat here, but they are far from perfect. Having participated in the political nitty gritty with essentially thuggish bureaucrats let me make a few suggestions.

1. The Partido Popular should distribute application forms from their headquarters.

2. Take two of everything and get one copy signed as a receipt, very useful on election day.

3. A Partido Popular councilor should be designated at Town Hall who will be available to handle the reluctant town employees.

4. When possible register in groups.

5. Bombard your consul with complaints

6. Publicity. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Six potential voters with a cameraman from the Bulletin could work miracles.

7. Persistence. As soon as the camera is gone they will be back to their old tricks.

Democracy requires free citizens. People willing to put up with abuse cannot enjoy liberty because they are unworthy of it. Fight. You will win. Stubbornness and receipts are your best weapons. Memories from the mid 70s remind me that the people of Palma are among the world's most enthusiastic participators in elections. Those were heady days. In May it can be true for all Majorcans wherever they were born.

Ralph McGaughey



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