Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Election Day in El Salvador Part 2

Be began our day as election observers in a small town north of San Salvador.  The poll workers arrived before 5:00 AM. As soon as the police arrived we were ready to go, opening up for set-up just after 5.  The process of setting up is coordinated by each voting table group.  Groups set up their areas (in classrooms, since we were at a school) and table-by-table receive their voting boxes.  The team carefully opens the box, inventories the contents, and sets up for voting.  The polls open at 7:00 AM.  Here are a few images from the opening process at our site:
The police arrived a few minutes after 5 AM and were greeted by
the voting table teams, the vigilantes (members of each party who
are assigned to watch at each table), and party affiliates.  The affiliates
set up information tables outside the polling place to help voters
to find their assigned voting table numbers.

Table teams waiting to receive their boxes.
The vigilantes keep an eye on all aspects of the process.

The table president takes the box to the assigned room.

Each member of the table team needs to sign the document
indicating that they received the box in tact.

The process was slow at our site, which was a very large site,
causing some teams to scramble at the end.

The voting booth - our site had some steps near the classrooms, so
those with difficulties walking and older folks were able to vote
at one of two accessible tables in the courtyard.

This is the team which I observed during set-up.  Everything needed is
in the box, from tape to pens to ballots to a garbage bag.  At this moment, I was
observing to be sure the ballot box was empty as it was being assembled.

Notice how the vigilantes keep a close eye on everything.  This
helps to keep everyone very honest.

After the team in my room was all set, with ballots counted, voting lists
ready, ink to mark thumbs of voters taped to the table, they voted.  They put their
identity cards into a sealed bag and put that into the ballot box.  Then
I asked if they would like a team photo.  They were very happy to have one!
The early morning sun was just coming through the windows.

This was one of the last rooms to get its box.  The cardboard stand outside
each room holds the list of voters for that room.

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