Voted, and Proud
This isn't my first time to vote. When I voted last time, it was only me and my mum in the station. There were some ladies inside asking us to vote for the NDPian; we had to shoo them away, we told them it was none of their business. It was a complicated procedure, I had to show them my voting card, then find my name in their long long lists, then finally voted. Today, it was totally different, today was just like Sham El Neseem.
I went to vote with my revolutionary parents and grandmother. The school where we voted is in the street we live in, but we still went out at 7:30 for two reasons. First, because my mum expected the station to be full of people so we went early to avoid standing in queues for many hours. The second reason is that I wanted to monitor everything happening before the voting starts; how organized it is, who is guarding, when will the voting start and so on.
We reached the school a little before 7:40 and weren't the only ones there. The school was protected by both army and police, gates were opened but only for those who worked inside. The guards were very nice and treated everyone with respect. We started a queue for women and another for men. Five minutes later, it wasn't easy to see the end of both queues. People were very organized, everyone took their turn, no one tried to get in the middle of the queue. Every time someone came, we told them to please join the queue and they did. Some women had their mothers with them, they asked us if they can let them wait in the cars then come when it's their turn to vote. People were very nice and agreed to let them do so.
Ten minutes before the voting started, it was impossible to see the end of the queues. Everyone was there, people from all ages and all types were there. Most of them were families, some brought their drivers and maids with them. Some people spoke French more than Arabic, but were as Egyptian as anyone else. Everyone was smiling and excited, people were very happy to see their neighbors coming to vote, no one talked about voting yes or no, but everyone talked to each other and mingled. Everyone made new friends.
Five minutes before the station opened, a guy came and explained to us the procedure. He said that there are three stations inside, so they'll take three by three. They asked us how we wanted to do it, three ladies then three men or two men and one lady then two ladies and one man. We chose to have it three by three and that's what happened. They also allowed the elder to sit inside and wait for their turns.
When I got in, there were small queues on the three stations. Inside, there was the judicial supervisor, but no civil supervision. The first step was to check my ID, some man came in and went to the guy who's supposed to check my ID, asked him if can vote even if his address is in Ismaeleya, , the guy said yes and took his ID. When I told him it's my turn they both apologized and the man waited outside for his turn. then I went to another guy who wrote my ID number and name and made me sign. Then I took the paper and voted NO behind the curtain, and put my paper inside the transparent box. Before I left, I put my finger in the pink ink (so glad it's pink), so they can make sure I won't vote again. One of the polling stations used fingerprinting instead of signing. The guy made my father put his finger in the ink twice, because he said that the ink wasn't enough. I loved how everyone did their job perfectly, they did it with love, they did it really well and everyone respected them.
My father finished earlier than we did, went out and talked with the people who already voted. Most of them voted no. We wanted to take our maid and driver with us. Our maid only had a photocopy of her ID, so she wasn't not allowed to vote. When we went back, she told us that she doesn't understand anything and doesn't know what these amendments are about. My mum told her why haven't you watched TV? She told her she saw nothing! My mum explained to her everything, but I don't believe she'll be voting when she gets home. The driver refused to go, as if voting is "7aga 3aib".
I took photos of the huge queues before we left at about 8:30. Today felt like Sham El Neseem because we woke up early, full of excitement, because the sun was shining to fill everyone with hope. Because the streets were filled with people, filled with happy faces, because no one minded the crowd. Here are the photos of the our very early Sham El Neseem in Heliopolis.