Vote By Dog Sled? Greenland Polls See Ballots Delivered In Odd Fashion

Leiff Josefsen / AP Images

On Tuesday, dog sleds rushed ballots to the polls in Greenland for the country’s election,

According to a Reuters report, Greenland faces many obstacles in its attempt to gain independence from Denmark. Not the least of which is the fact that a mere 56,000 people reside on the island, which contains no roads to connect its 17 towns. Plus, the Arctic island boasts just one airport.

This lack of accessible transportation led to a fisherman using a dog sled to transport ballots to the remote city of Savissivik so that residents there could vote and be counted in the election.

The country, which is closer to New York than to Copenhagen, became a Danish colony in the early 19th century and since World War II, it has gradually resumed governing powers over itself. Of course, lack of education and infrastructure has caused the goal of independence from Denmark to move incredibly slowly.

Although Greenland obtained the right to self-rule in 2009, one of the critical issues in the vote is the country’s desire to gain its independence from Denmark reported The Local DK. However, a reliance on Danish grants and the lack of foreign investment in its mining operations could put a kink in those plans regardless of the vote’s outcome.

If residents vote to become a sovereign nation, then it would lose as much as 60 percent of its budget when it loses $591 million in subsidies from Denmark. Despite the concerns, six of Greenland’s seven political parties favor independence.

Interestingly, the country’s fishing industry finds itself benefitting, at least temporarily, from climate change, which is melting Greenland’s ice sheets. Additionally, as the ice melts, much of the country’s mineral resources become more easily accessible, which could also help its financial situation. Of course, if the sea level rises, then it could also cause flooding and other costly issues in the region.

Voting in the country closes at 2300 GMT with results expected sometime on Wednesday. So far, polling suggests that the left-green Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) party is expected to win the election in which 31 seats are open, and voter turnout in the country is typically as high as 70 percent.