Today, May 10, 2010 is Election Day here in this nation of islands. We're not really supposed to make comments about politics or the government of the country we're volunteering in, so I'm just going to report on what I observed.
People, lots and lots of people out to vote; that's what I saw. A few people told me, "Very different than America, no?" I kind of laughed, well, we get to wait in long lines to vote too! Except here it's sans line, so instead they give out a slip of paper with a number on it and then you're called to vote when it's your turn, and the waiting can last literally all morning if you're there when the poll opens at 7 am.
Election Day is a holiday, no work, and school is already out for summer, so people were able to spend all day at their respective voting places. Teachers are in charge of running the voting and all precincts are in public schools. There is a like an express lane for senior citizens, pregnant women, and the disabled, even though I think all would agree that "express" was used in loose terms. The wait in line could last hours, cause the number of people at each precinct was around 1000. I asked one lady who was observing the voting how long, on average, it took for a person to fill in the ballot and slide it into the scanner. She said roughly 10 minutes. This year was the first year that voters filled in their ballot with a special marker and then slid it into an electric counter.
The temperature yesterday was probably in the high eighties with 110% humidity. It was the kind of hot where all you do is stand outside and your shirt is soaked through within 10 minutes. Yep, long wait and killer heat.
Haven't heard any results yet, and somewhere I did hear that the voting times were going to be extended, so now, like in America, it's just "let's wait and see."
Ok, I tried really hard to keep it to the facts and as far as a blog goes, it was probably pretty neutral... maybe, kind of, sorta.