Gambians Get Out Their Voting Marbles
Mystic expected to win African nation's unique election
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2011 5:41 AM CST
Jammeh, pictured on the green ballot box, is expected to win but critics say the autocratic leader has lost his marbles.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – It's election time in the Gambia, and the west African nation's 800,000 voters are dropping their marbles. With the literacy rate under 50%, the country has adopted a unique voting system in which each voter drops a marble into one of three different colored drums representing presidential hopefuls, reports the Telegraph. Election monitors listen for the sound of a bell that rings as a marble is dropped.

Incumbent President Yahya Jammeh, who seized power in a 1994 coup, is widely expected to get the vast majority of the marbles, the Guardian notes. The self-proclaimed mystic, a close friend of Jermaine Jackson, has spent heavily on roads and hospitals but has also cracked down on dissent and imprisoned dozens of journalists. He retired from campaigning this week, saying God had decreed that he would win, and there have been few signs of the other two candidates on the campaign trail.