The Election Secret

Since I am now a German (and voted in my first federal election Sept. 18), I also volunteered for election service. I really like organizing and counting things - but man, this was very tiring, concentrating on checking identies all day. Seems as soon as I decided to check whether the identity documents were valid, I found some that ran out long ago. My colleague found it was not a problem, but I decided to at least make the people uncomfortable, they should get themselves new identity documents pronto - not the least reason being the new biometric junk to be added to them from Nov. 1.

There was a lot of problems about the question of the elections being secret - many people wanted to take their kids into the voting booth with them. But that is not allowed, so we had to prevent people from doing so. One woman flew into a viscious rage and threatened to call the police after she voted and then hung around behind the voting booth letting her kid play with all the toys that were there (we were in a kindergarten and had tried to block off the toys, but they just climbed over and crawled under). Goodness, I see that the boy is a handful, but you needn't take it out on the volunteers running the voting show.

Many men - husbands, sons, fathers - of veiled women were quite uneasy having their womanfolk voting without them watching. The couple that has stuck in my mind, however, was a German couple. He took both ballots and was marching off to the booth with her. We insisted that they separate. He handed her her ballot, pointed to the "CDU" box and told her - here, that's what you vote. They each went behing their own booth, he was done very quickly (need we guess what he voted?). She took her time, and when she came out she had this slight Mona-Lisa-like smile on her face. She then put her ballot in the box with a triumphant little pat. How I would have liked to know what this woman voted!! I hope she voted for any other candidate than the one her husband told her to!

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