Sunday, March 21, 2004

Waiting for the results!

I was awakened too early for my tastes this morning, at around 6:30 am, by the sound of helicopters overhead. I didn't get up to see what they were, but I know there are both press and police choppers that will be used today--three television channels are running coverage until midnight, and some 17,000 police are out to provide for security. Because residential voting, which would have allowed citizens to vote much more closely to their residences, was not enacted this year, there are still some number of people who have to travel to their hometown to vote--thus police presence on the major highways, for example, leading to the eastern part of the country.

The principal parties, the television stations, and other public opinion institutes are doing their own exit polls, quick counts, etc., so we might start getting some pronouncements about the results as early as 7 pm, two hours after the polls close. I'm determined not to stay glued to the television until later in the afternoon.

Early reports show that there is the kind of massive turnout that had been expected, with many people voting early. Why? Because no one wants to stay outside in the mid-day sun. But early voters can also....go shopping! Many stores have offered to discounts to people who show up with their finger dipped in ink (the tried and true method of making sure that people only vote once!) The supermarkets were also unusually crowded last night. The pupusa business may take a hit tonight as people stay home to watch the results--usually on Sunday nights pupuserías do their best business.

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