By the lack of the draw, I was selected to be part of the group of people manning the voting tables at next Sunday’s Parliamentary elections at the place where I vote. This implied spending the afternoon yesterday as an electoral trainee. No training, no credential, no credential, you can’t participate, which is obligatory. Go figure.
So, at 3 PM sharply I showed up at the public school where the training was to take place. I was sent by a National Guardsman to sit on the wooden steps of the baseball field at the high school to wait for the instructor. There were about 60 or 70 people sitting there with me asking “And now, what?” when at last around 3:25 PM (not bad for Venezuela “time”) the instructor and his helpers showed up.
We were all herded into a hot classroom, about ten to twelve rows deep and the instructor began telling us all the things we would have to do on Sunday beginning at 5 AM.
He was not bad, except that he had clearly memorized all the material and by now was clearly bored to death by it. The supporting material was absolutely awful as you can see above, where the instructor is explaining the seven steps to the installation of a voting table. Yes, each of those seven pie slices contains diagrams of little people, indicating the function of each of the members of the voting table. I was sitting on the second row and could not read the small letters.
I only saw two or three nerdy people like me taking notes of everything, the rest of the people either were bored to death or had no idea what the guy was talking about. A lot of time was spent on rules and technicalities such as what happens when a blind or crippled person comes to vote. Could not understand why it is that senior citizens have priority to vote first, but some of them are selected to spend 16-17 hours manning the voting stations. The guy also discussed the ever present Venezuelan issue: When and how to decide to close down voting. Seems fairly straightforward, but never is.
After a couple of hours of hours of training, the session was over and we all had to stand around and wait for half an hour for our credentials to be typed, so we can get into the voting places.
The atmosphere was very cordial, everyone seemed happy to have been selected as long as they gave you an interesting job. Many people did not want to do the boring jobs like organizing people in lines and the like. But since the training is random, those that are alternates or reserves will not know until tomorrow at 8 AM whether they may do a more interesting job.
So, Sunday I will take my cell phone and will try to give you updates when I get some time, but in general I will know very little of what is going on outside my voting center.