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There must be some mistake

In the end, the votes didn't matter. Which may have been just as well since a batch of them failed to arrive for tabulating at Ecuador's elections commission following the Sept. 28 national referendum on the new constitution proposed by leftist President Rafael Correa. As it turned out, the charter passed easily; 63.9 percent of those going to the polls said "yes" to such reforms as increasing state control over the oil industry and guaranteeing free seeds for people engaged in farming. Perhaps the latter is why a carton of completed ballots ended up being sent – not to counters in the capital, Quito – but to a private-sector company that grows, packages, and exports herbs in Jastrzebie-Zdroj... Poland. No need to consult a globe; it's a small city near the border with the Czech Republic and roughly 7,000 miles from Quito. The ballots were of the absentee variety, filled out by expatriate Ecuadoreans living in Spain and turned over to DHL, a leading international courier, for delivery. DHL wouldn't comment on the mix-up, but the herb company, Prymat Sp., did. "We quite often receive samples from Spain," a company spokesman said, "and so we weren't surprised to get this package – until we opened it." Having determined that there were no herb samples in the box, Prymat inquired what should be done with the ballots. Answer: Send them to Ecuador's Embassy in Warsaw, which would see that they ended up in the hands of the elections commission. It's not known whether DHL was chosen for the job.


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