Heat without queues at post offices in the last hours to vote by mail


The scenes took place in most post offices in the country yesterday with normality as a common observation, the prevailing heat and the lack of crowds for last-minute voting by mail. This is a panorama in several communities:

Madrid: Silence in the office

It’s quiet, even muted, at the post office in the Tetuán neighborhood near the Santiago Bernabéu stadium at 11:15 am. There is a weak but constant number of people who will send in the vote. Faced with this lull, a man arriving to process a package sarcastically remarks: “Some horrible queues here, aren’t they? What a burden!” And he finishes: “What a story they all have!” Among the 10 people who went to cast their ballots was Pablo Espuela, 36. “I ordered it electronically on July 8th along with the DNI digital certificate,” he says. He hastened until this Thursday because he was on vacation and it seemed to him that everything was very clear during the process: “I received notice that the documents are now available. It seems to me reliable also because they are asking for your ID.”, he qualifies.

Most important is Alberto Blazquez, 58. He admits that voting by mail is well organized, but does not negate the statements of the PP leader about the incompetence of the management of the state corporation: “The postal address has nothing to do with being well organized. I don’t want to say anything about them because I don’t know them. This is the first time he has voted by mail, because he would prefer to go in person, if he could, and complains that Pedro Sánchez called an election for mid-July: “With the move that was prepared here, we spent 85 million euros of everyone’s money. He would have joined them and that way we would have saved money.”

In the middle of the morning, at the post office on Hermanos García-Noblejas Street, in the Pueblo Nuevo neighborhood of Madrid, it is very quiet. At only three of the seven counters in the office are workers to take care of the few people who are there. “We really had a bad time on Monday, but luckily we got through it,” says a worker who prefers to remain anonymous, looking around to show there is almost no one there. At this time, there are only two people in the office who want to cast their votes.

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Half an hour later, García Noblejas’ office is completely empty, with no one present but the workers. Like other offices in the area, such as the one in the Quintana neighborhood, on Calle Alcalde López Casero, in the Concepción neighborhood, which already at 1:30 in the afternoon people have been evacuated. Or in the sales branch, on Avenida Marqués de Corbera, where Maria Fernández, 29, arrives around 3 p.m., and it takes less than a quarter of an hour to vote. “Everything was very fast because there was no queue,” celebrates Fernandez, who came to collect and deposit votes at the same moment.

Valencia Post Office Many people deposit their votes by mail and collect documents to practice voting.Monica Torres

Joaquina Barragán, 60, is a rare bird among the wave of people who have had a quiet experience. He says he requested the mail-in vote on June 6, but since it didn’t arrive at his address, he went to that office to claim it. “Here they explained to me that my documents are in the office next to my house, so I’m going to vote this afternoon,” explains Jose Maria, 65, who prints the voting-by-mail experience. He asked because he was likely to work on the Sunday of the election, serving clients at Chamartín station. When asked about the People’s Party leader’s remarks, he said: “Feijóo is a moron who does not stand up for what is public.”

The normality found in these Madrid offices has an unseen price: the labor of post office workers. An employee in one of these offices who preferred not to be named is defending himself from the criticism and innuendo that have flooded the news these weeks: “We are being attacked and it cannot be. We want to show that we are leaving our skin. The people who came to vote were great and thanked us, but Feijóo’s comments in the end hurt the workers, not the management or the president. Also, after he was [Feijóo] Post office chief, it’s a very unfortunate comment. “

Catalonia: “descending” rhythm

Natalia and Joaquim, who must be in their thirties, leave the post office in Sant Puy (Barcelona). They just voted. Four people inside and one waiting. It was all very fast, they celebrated. “five minutes”. On the other hand, on Monday they took a number to collect the documents that were sent to them and went to run errands because they were told that there were many people waiting for them. On Friday they left the country house, not wanting to suffer if they got there in time to vote. “It’s the first time we’ve been voting by mail, and there’s a lot of bureaucracy,” they lament. “We had to communicate our intention to vote by mail, and wait for the documents; to go look for them in the office (on Monday) because when the postman came home we were not there, and today we come back to vote.”

The joy at how quickly they came this time is double, because she had to be at a polling station but eventually got rid of it because the cottage reservation was before the election call. “Now we go easy, with everything done,” they celebrated.

The pace of work in the Sant Joan Despi (Barcelona) office is also slow. There are hardly two people inside the establishment and no one is waiting. One official confirmed that Monday and Tuesday were the “worst” days. “All the people who were away from home over the weekend and got the notice in the mail have come in at the beginning of the week looking for it,” he explains. Now everything is going “downhill”.

The internal organization was not easy. Part-time employees increased their workload and full-time employees had to work overtime. “We all had to organize ourselves,” explains another colleague. People took the situation with “understanding,” he says, and the only problems come from a misinterpretation of the system. The clerks allowed those people who had collected the documents to cast their votes on the same visit and without standing in line again when filling out the documents. “Aside from that, people have handled it very well,” the employee explains.

A total of 276,349 voters have requested to vote by post in Catalonia, 224,207 people and 52,142 electronically. Correos has already delivered 100% of the voting documents by mail to those who requested them, and in fact, 90% of the total have already voted. The government delegate in Catalonia, Carlos Prieto, stated that the number of petitions is “absolutely record” as petitions from the previous general election held in 2019 tripled. Prieto considered that he had “recommended” extending the voting period until 2:00 pm on Friday to ensure those who were unable to exercise their right to vote, and asked those who questioned the electoral process to “apologize for the damage.” 23-J is invited to vote in Catalonia 5,703,737 voters who will choose 48 deputies and 16 senators.

Valencian Community: Almost empty post office at closing time for the night

In the Valencian Community, about 181,765 votes were requested by mail, the majority having been requested through a face-to-face petition. The prevailing note in the offices on Thursday was the normality and low crowd flow, only the furthest. In the office in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento de Valencia this morning, at the time of opening, around eight thirty, there were only four people to vote. At around eight in the evening, another of the busiest offices in the capital, the one on Avenida del Cid, was nearly empty two hours after closing, at 10:00 pm. According to Curios, there were no notable incidents throughout the day. However, this Friday the post office will open its office doors even in municipalities with local Oliva and Albaida holidays.

Several people cast their ballots at a post office in Cibeles
Several people cast their ballots at a post office in CibelesSanti Burgos

Andalusia: “I came from the beach to Seville to vote”

In Andalusia there were no incidents with voting by mail. Last Tuesday, the government delegate to this community, Pedro Fernández, presented that 98.2% of applicants had already received the documents and only 1.8% did not have documents and would have to pick them up at the post office. “It is very dangerous for someone to invent these problems with postal voting to question the process if the result is not satisfactory,” he said of the doubts expressed by the leaders of the People’s Party and the Vox party in this regard.

In the office on Seville’s Avenida de la Constitucion, a young man complained: “They bothered me a bit, I came from the beach to Seville to vote. Tomorrow I have to catch a flight, and I’m going on a trip. If I had known that the deadline had been extended, I would have come right in tomorrow first thing in the morning and not have to spend the night here with the heat.”

Euskadi: “Ultimate Normalcy”

A Correos Zona Norte spokesperson confirmed that the day had passed in “absolutely normal conditions” and “very quiet” at the postal’s headquarters in Bilbao. We were able to verify this in the central offices in San Sebastian, where there were no crowds. On the contrary, very few people have come to this place to process their vote by mail.

With information from: Bernat Cole, Angels Pinol, Mikel Ormazabal, Cristina Vasquez, Elena Rakibag, Nora J. Fournes, Javier Martín Arroyo

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