Sunday, August 11, 2013

Voting In Argentina

On Sunday, August 11th, 2013, I voted for the first time ever in Argentina. Argentinian citizens are required to vote by law. It's only optional if you're an Argentinian resident, but it's still an option that not every country in the world extends to foreigners. I'm a firm believer that you have to vote in order to be heard. I'm living here now and I feel it's important that I add my voice. 

I arrived at my designated voting area but there was a major back up of cars on the narrow neighborhood streets.

I headed into the building, (which is a school), and walked up to the voting table that was assigned to me. How did I know which table that was? There's a website that lists your name, the address you're suppose to go to, and the table to report to once you get there.

After I was checked in, I was given an empty envelope and told to walk into a room. I was confused at first because I was expecting to find computerized ballots. The last U.S. election I voted in had those, but I'm afraid I jumped the gun on my expectations about the voting system here.

There was a table with flyers. Each flyer represented the political party available for voting. I already knew who I was going to pick since I'd been doing research in anticipation of the upcoming election. So I grabbed the flyer with the representative of my choice, folded it and placed it inside the envelope. I had to use spit to seal the envelope. I'd forgotten how nasty envelope glue tasted like. Too bad I couldn't e-mail my vote.

With the sealed envelope, I left the room and headed back to the table. 

I slipped my sealed voting envelope inside the ballot box. Then I signed my name and received a voting slip. Now I have to keep this voting slip for six months until the voting records are updated to show that I did in fact vote.

Why is the voting slip important? As I stated, voting is a serious thing in Argentina. If I want to apply for a credit card or even a job, I need to show proof that I've voted. 

I'd like to point out that if for whatever reason, a voter doesn't agree with any nominee, they can choose to submit an empty envelope into the voting ballot, but the voter (if you're a citizen) must present themselves on election day.

This election was a preliminary to weed out the weaker candidates. Then I’ll vote again this coming October for whoever is left standing. Hopefully by then, my spouse will be able to vote as well. Unfortunately, he didn’t show up on the voting list this time because his DNI is newer than mine.

Argentina offers foreigners, who are legal residents, the chance to vote. This is a rare privilege. If you’re going to live, work and study here, take advantage of having your voice heard. After all, you're not just benefiting the country you're in; you're benefiting your way of life as well.

Oh and in case you were wondering who I was voting for ... shhh! I’m not telling.

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