November 29, 2010 | 7:44am
Al Gore and George W. Bush riding hand-in-hand down Okeechobee Boulevard in November 2000 to protest hanging chads. Something in that vein happened in yesterday's Haitian election, which went just about as badly as anyone could have expected.
Elections in Haiti have often been disorganized, and South Florida feels some of the pain: Candidates spend much of their time stumping in Haitian-American communities so people will call their relatives and talk to them about the vote. Those calls can come as a welcome antidote to the mistrust and confusion in Haiti, which has only increased with the earthquake damage and cholera outbreak.
No cars were allowed on the streets, so people were reportedly walking between polling places looking for a spot to vote. Jude Celéstin, a candidate handpicked by lame-duck president René Préval, didn't match the photo on his voting registration, so he had to use a provisional ballot.
Baker sent out a tweet
yesterday morning alleging "massive electoral fraud in Haiti today." Then, several hours into voting, youth-friendly candidate Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly called for a news conference and peaceful demonstration. The goal? A postponement of the election, due to voter fraud
, infrastructure problems, and the cholera crisis.
Martelly rode through Port-au-Prince atop a vehicle with Baker and Haitian-American musician Wyclef Jean. All in all, 12 of the 18 presidential candidates signed a letter of protest.
While riding down the street with a helicopter hovering overhead, Wyclef tweeted
: "I am on the Car with micky 250,000 People in the Crowd is Demanding that Sweet micky be the Nex president!"
Meanwhile, Baker sat between them, dressed similarly in a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up. In riding along with Micky and Wyclef, Baker made a significant gesture of solidarity, but it raises questions about whether he expects to win, and who he'll support if he doesn't.
Regardless, the last-ditch cooperation between the candidates may be the one encouraging thing about this month's Haitian election.