Reuters News reports today that so many candidates are running in local elections next month in Bulgaria that the ballots are now too large to fit in any Bulgarian-made envelopes. Due to this humiliating deficiency in the domestic Bulgarian envelope industry, authorities have said that they will have to import more than 11 million foreign envelopes that are sufficiently large to hold the ballots, which are reportedly well over six feet long.
According to Bulgarian news sources, however, electoral authorities in the capital, Sofia, are angrily denying reports that the ballots will be that long. In an article titled "Bulgaria Assuages Giant Ballot Fears," authorities were quoted as saying that the ballot there will actually be only ninety-four centimeters (or about three feet). Since this will apparently still require imported envelopes, it remains unclear why the sub-one-meter ballot is something to crow about. I'm also not sure exactly why the Giant Ballot was causing "fear" among Bulgarians to begin with, but it is at least good to know that the fear is being assuaged.
I've actually been to Sofia, believe it or not, and while it is a pleasant enough little town, there is not a whole lot going on there, or anywhere in Bulgaria, for that matter, which may explain the attention being paid to the Giant Ballot. (The airport in Sofia, the capital city, has exactly six gates, and rather than give boarding passes of any kind they just open the doors and everybody runs for the plane. But I digress.) For example, I note that among the top stories on the Sofia News Agency's website are reports that the French president's wife will not be accompanying him to Bulgaria in October, that Miss Bulgaria was the second runner-up in the Balkan Beauty Ambassador Pageant this week, and that a fierce debate broke out in the country's Interior Ministry after a street in Sofia was declared off-limits to cars ("Pedestrian Zone Drives Wedge Between Interior Minister, Sofia Mayor").
A country in which these are the top stories probably welcomes news of any kind.