I did have to work a few election days ago, but I had no work since it was my responsibility today: to be at the polling station. Mr. President, nothing more, nothing less. The news was given to me by purse on a Thursday at the end of June at four o’clock in the afternoon, which, to live in Murcia, has its merits. He asked for my information and gave it to me without anesthesia: “Notification of my election. The chair of the table touched it.” My face should be similar to his. Àngels Barceló upon learning of the date of the election, Because he asked me if I had planned the trip of my life that day. “No, no. It’s just that I got a job. I’m a journalist.” “Well, he’ll live it from the bottom of it,” he tells me, laughing. It was less fun for me.
My presidency began not on Sunday, but on Friday night, with a two-and-a-half-hour practice talk. Good thing he was in college: It’s always nice to travel back 20 years in time. When the course was over, they gave me an electoral bag. According to the official who gives the instructions, there is no copy, without it the table cannot be formed and without a table you cannot vote. On my table there are 786 registered citizens. In other words, I had the right to vote for 786 people. On the way home I did as if the bag had €786m in it, what a bad time!
But I managed to keep it safe, and this Sunday, at eight in the morning, the bag and I came in through the door of the polling station, which in this case is not a school, it is a social center for the elderly. In any case, adults and children are very close and understand each other tremendously.
As President, this morning I had to prepare the table (which consisted mainly of filling in a piece of paper with my name and the names of the other two members), affixing stickers bearing the district number, placing the ballots (which were to be on the tables and booths in an order to be laid down by the Electoral Council) and tying a pen to a thread so that the people could use it to fill out the ballot in the Senate without forgetting later. And at nine o’clock in the morning, the day began in “full normality.”
A man had been waiting at the door for at least 20 minutes and arrived, envelopes in hand, on my table, telling me with four winds that he would be the first voter of the day. But it turned out that he did not get along with him here, and he had to change tables and be the third or fourth. First story of the day. Half an hour later, it no longer feels like an anecdote: the number of people queuing at a table that isn’t theirs is, to say the least, surprising.
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At a quarter past nine, quite a few colleagues from the media started arriving near my table. Journalists, photographers, cameras and reporters. I got a little excited and was going to start with “Thank you friends, what a show, it wasn’t necessary,” when the President of the Congressional PP List for the Region of Murcia, Luis Alberto Marín, entered the building. Who voted at my table. I had no idea it was my neighbour, he just lost the life in the neighborhood. Even though the vote was secret, I couldn’t help but think with a little grimace: “I already know who I voted for.”
For the rest, democratic normality. Of all the voters who passed the table, about 350 at two o’clock in the afternoon, my favorite was, without a doubt, a man in his thirties, in tracksuits and a hat, who stood conspicuously in front of the ballot box and said to us, “I’m so nervous! I’m really hopeful! I really want to vote!” It seemed to me an amazing love of democracy. On the other hand, I have not seen those who have just turned 18, so excited.
The manager brought us almonds. A woman complained vehemently of her disorganization when she had to put the white envelope into the white jar and the brown envelope into the dark one; Four children put their parents’ vote in the ballot box and their father did not allow two more (siblings); A man offered us his condolences by being at the table; About half of them complained about the heat, and the patriotic policeman who was accompanying us on the day called Antonio.
After closing, now is the time to count the votes, fill out the minutes, and take them to court. But I think, in the end, this thing on the table isn’t bad either. Maybe I was exaggerating the face I put on the bag. After all, I contribute to the Democracy Party. Tonight the one we have chosen to rule the country will be known. But, at my table this 23J, the boss is me.
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