“It’s done, it was easy”, says a voter leaving the Basic School Manoel de Oliveira, in Porto, after a journey “in several stages and with a lot of gel alcohol” that took 15 minutes to complete, always in line.
“They say that the queue started right at 8:00 am, but I wasn’t here to see it”, tells the Express the employee at the entrance of the school, who is still outside voters in two groups, for the queue which precedes the access door to tables 1 to 7 and to the more fluid circuit of tables 8 to 11, a little further ahead. Many have already seen their polling station online. Whoever did not have to just say the name and is sent.
An elderly couple separates at this stage and the husband ends up going after the woman to give him the pen. “They said that we have to have our own pen to reduce risks and it costs nothing”, he comments when he returns to his place still in the open area of the school.
Friends cross paths. They are surprised by the “dawn” that they both did this Sunday to vote and end up realizing that they had the same motivation: the queues they saw in the news about the early vote last Sunday and the forecast of rain for the afternoon.
Near the entrance, an official gets directions from the interior and calls voters from the tables that are freer. “Anyone for 5? You can pass ”. “Anyone for table 7? Wait just a little while, ”he asks when he sees a lady with a cane to help her reach her final destination.
The process seems well-oiled and whoever is there wearing a mask so that the Portuguese can vote, shows goodwill ”.
“The queue is growing”
“Aren’t you afraid to be here?” Asks the voter when she passes the door into the school and receives the first splash of alcohol gel from an employee. She just shrugs her shoulders to reply: “someone has to do this and, according to the rules, things are going well. The important thing today is to vote ”.
A few steps ahead, at the door of polling station number 7, there are 3 people waiting because a voter only enters when what is inside the room leaves. To enter it is necessary to disinfect your hands again. He is the secretary of the table who is at the door, with the bottle of alcohol gel, without problems with this new function imposed by the pandemic, after having spent many elections sitting by the ballot box.
Inside, at the polling station, there are 3 people, each with their bottle of alcohol gel in front of them. All quiet? “Of course,” replies the president, launching the invitation for another hand disinfection before receiving the voter’s citizen card, exactly as he does at the end, after the ballot box enters the ballot box.
The exit is made through the back door, in order to guarantee separate circuits and, outside, it is easy to go and see who takes their own fresh gel to end this electoral process with a final hand hygiene after the pen and card. citizen are guarded.
“The queue is growing”, but “don’t worry, this is fast”, repeats those who leave, between the surprise at the unexpected turnout and “the impression that it is only the social distance that is making it seem that many people are voting ”.
Source: Expresso by expresso.pt.
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