Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Election Day

This morning, at 9 o'clock I set out for our local sport's centre where the 'Mother of all elections', as this 2014 poll is called, is held. The last national elections date from 4 years ago. Back then it took over 500 days to form a new government, a new record worldwide and almost bringing our country to a financial breakdown. Let's hope that in the meantime our politicians have come to their senses, and are ready to make the necessary comprises.

Just a pretty rose or the perfect compromise between two colours?

Why the 'Mother of all elections'? For three reasons:

1.we had to vote for the European, National (Federal) and Regional (in my case Flemish) governments,
2. the new 'governments' will be 'in the saddle' for five years, instead of four, a big change!
3. the outcome of the 'clash between the titans' has never before been so unpredictable, leaving the population completely in the dark on what the next five years will bring.

I set out earlier than usual in order to avoid the crowds. What a mistake to make! (Remember this quote? :)) The weather being what it is - warm and sunny and the last day before we get more rain and wind - I guess a lot of people wanted to perform their civic duty (voting is compulsary in Belgium) before seeking some leisure at the coast or in the countryside.

When I arrived, the queues indicated a wait of well over 15 minutes. Moreover, this time I had to queue twice. Once for myself and once for my mother who, physically unable to go to the poll offices herself, had given me a mandate to vote in her name ... with strict and detailed instructions about whom to vote for. As we don't have the same last name, my mother and I don't vote in the same bureau. Mine is 123, hers 122. The queue at number 123 seemed shorter than 122's, so I joined the first one. Although shorter, it turned out to move slower than 122. But by the time I had realized that, it was too late to change.

By the time I had finished my part of the duty, the queue at 122 had doubled in size. In fact, I almost had to step outside again to join it. All in all it took me just under an hour to complete my double mission.

On my way to the car a young woman holding an exit poll clipboard approached me. "Will you tell me who you voted for?" she kindly inquired. "No" I replied, "But I will tell you who I didn't vote for." She penciled down my answer and wished me a pleasant Sunday!

Voting will be over at 4 p.m. The first exit polls are expected by half past 3 p.m. Can't wait ... or can I?


chm said...

For whatever reason, queueing is a pain! How many times did that happened to at the grocery store with multiple cashiers to chose one queue which seemed shorter to find out the same as you, that it, indeed, took much longer and it was too late to try another one. Lol!

Voting should be mandatory in the US, but I don't think the Constitution would allow that.

GaynorB said...

I am very worried about the outcome of the European elections in the UK. However, I completely understand that others may feel (and vote) differently.

That's what we call democracy!

Hope the outcome of your election is quicker to establish the Government.

Nadege said...

I vote "permanent absentee ballot" by mail. So much faster and easier. Our state elections are June 3rd but I already voted.

Bob said...

I guess the results should be in by now and hope it went the way you wanted. You have to "speak" with your vote. Not sure about compulsory voting.

Autolycus said...

>>(Remember this quote? :))<<

I note you "only said it wernce"...!

These were local and European elections in the UK, so the turnout was low (maybe we should go to compulsory voting, as long as there's a "none of the above" option on the ballot paper: something which might reduce the impact of the "anti-politics" vote for wacko parties and candidates, incidentally). I dropped in on the way to buy my paper, and was out again in 5 minutes or so, having a very clear idea about the voting strategy to employ. Didn't quite work as intended, though, but that's my fellow-citizens for you.

Travel said...

I am usually in and out in 15-20 minutes, one election I waited in line for over three hours. When I worked as an election official, our goal was to move the line in less than 30 minutes or call for back-up.

VirginiaC said...

I totally agree with carrying out your civic duty, but I am not sure I would like compulsory voting.
Your voting process this time around was tedious I suppose but necessary.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

We got our vote in as well, it was quite quiet in our village.

Hope that you are well, take care Diane

ladybird said...

Chm, I know exactly what you mean. Happens to me all the time :) I think compulsory voting is a good thing, although not always very pleasant or convenient.

Gaynor, The UK is not the only country that voted against the EU. France and the Netherlands also have a strong anti-EU fraction. As for our new government ... fingers crossed!

Nadege, Do you still vote in France too?

Bob, The election results were not what I had hoped for, but leave sufficient acceptable (for me) options when it comes to forming the new government. It happens that the winner is not the one who gets to rule ... Too complex to explain here, though!

Autolycus, Right! I think it was Captain Bertorelli in 'Allo Allo' who used the expression? As for the ballot: lucky you ... only five minutes!! For the outcome ... see my answer to Gaynor's comment.

Penguin, Three ours!!!! I would have gone home or stepped out for a drink :)

Virginia, This was the first time that I had to queue twice. In the past my mother always voted herself. However, her failing mobility does no longer allow her to go out and stand in line that long.

Diane, Voting being compulsory in Belgium automatically brings out everybody at the same time (before noon)... in order not to spoil the rest of the day.

Nadege said...

No, I don't vote in France. I haven't had a french passport in years. I probably would have to apply for french citizenship if I wanted to.
I am not sure about the rest of the US, but permanent absentee ballot is popular in California. You just vote by mail; it is that simple.