Amid an ongoing violent clampdown on protests by the government, Syria is forging ahead with local elections. But despite efforts to increase turnout, most citizens regard the elections as irrelevant. Overall participation is expected to be very low, since many citizens are scared to even show up at the polls—at least 18 people have been killed so far in clashes between opposition groups and security forces. Some, however, will be forced to vote. A U.K.-based human-rights group reported that dozens of people were compelled to go to the voting booth in Idlib, a center of unrest in the north. At least 5,000 have been killed during the nine-month protest, but Syria’s president insists that he’s not behind the crackdown.