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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Voting in Ecuador. February 2013.

I voted in USSR, USA and now in Ecuador.
In USSR we used to have only one candidate, voting was obligatory and you could buy food and beer at the voting places. It was huge motivation for people, because in the grocery store food and beer were available sporadically.  And it felt like a party, people shopping for the food, eating and drinking at the voting place.

In the US I voted three times, in 2000 for the Ralph Nader, I am really proud of this, although in 2000 it was dangerous to admit you voted for him, people would accuse you for wasting your vote.
In 2002 there were United States Senate election in Minnesota and Minnesota gubernatorial election.  It was tragic event for me and for many other people, because Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone was running for re-election to a third term, but died in a plane crash eleven days before the election.
My boyfriend at the time worked for the union and I tell you in 2002, it was party after party after party, at the union expense. In one of these union sponsored parties I had a privilege to meet in person and chat briefly with Paul Wellstone. I volunteered for his election campaign.
In 2004 there was not much hope, but still I voted.

Fast forward to presidential election in Ecuador, February 2013. I didn't have to vote, but I was curious. Wow, it was quite an experience.
I could see my election place (in Centro Historico) from far away: lots of police and  soldiers. It was very well organized, I have to say. I was directed to a room #X(they called it junta) and on my way there I saw a soldiers with serious weapons in front of every voting room(junta). There was one in front of "my" junta as well. 

In the room they had two tables with election workers, one table had women workers only and another - men only. In front of the room there were two lines of people who came to vote, men in one line and mujeres in the other. Men would go to the "men" table and, accordingly, women to the "women" table.
The process was quick and I got my first Ecuadorian Certificado de Votacion in a few minutes. My candidate didn't  win.

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