A voter's experience

Okay, we're sorry: we haven't been good at keeping the blog updated. With the elections and all, we've been too busy that we were too exhausted to blog regularly. That will be rectified soon with some notes on yesterday's elections that will come later tonight.

In the meantime, I wanted to share with you the impressions of Mustafa, a 20-year-old friend who voted yesterday in his first presidential contest. Enjoy.


It took me about 45 minutes to find my name. Actually I'm not sure it was my name that I found, but then I figured first to come first served. You see The list of Ms or actually of Meems weren't all together and mostly were out of alphabetical order. My full name is; Mustafa Muhammad Salah Eldin Bayoumy. What was on the list was; Mustafa Muhammad Salah, the guy at the box didn't seem to mind so I got to vote.


I've heard that NDP members were told to go in force to the polls at around 5 o'clock so as to make it seem that there is a lot of people partisipating after work. A lot of the people that showed up didn't have voting cards but were hoping to find there names present none the less. I helped an old couple look for their names, well actually only the husband's but his wife was with him, I guess she would've went to vote if he had been successful. So helping Fathi Mustafa, the elderly husband I got to chat with them and see a few funny names on the list. When I told him I was there trying to find my name because I was born in 85 and was told that people born is the years 84,85 and 86 were going to be automatically added, he said well I was born in 1925 so why shouldn't I be there too? Nice question. I also think their mane concern was the 100LE fine. Now I don't think they exactly looked poor, it looked more like they never did anything wrong in their life and they weren't willing to be fined for not voting after 80 years. Fathi's wife didn't know that you had to go to the police station to get a voting card, I think the only time she entered a police station would'v been when she got her personal ID which I couldn't say how many years ago that happened.


Now back to my voting. So I cast my vote, signed and got to put my finger into the ink, which looks red. I had read a blog where the guy thought that phosphoric ink ment it would be a slight greenish white and would glow in the dark, while it just means it has some phosphorus compound in it. The ink is quite wierd. First, I have to say I didn't get that much on, but still it took for ever to dry and it was sticky. It is more of a maroon in color and when it dries it makes an outer coat that is bronze or gold color. Then I decided to wash my thumb, so first the broze goes and there is maroon left. Ok I thought I'd try soap, the maroon gets lighter. Next I though wy not washing detergent, that works best for greese and motor oil, Persil to be precise, and it worked better. I also tried Pril, for dishes, and even a little vinager. In the end I have a pastel-like pink thumb that any 5-year old girl would love to have.

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I must say I was super happy after voting. And to add to that the guy at the supermarket noticed my thumb and asked who I voted for. When I said No'maan Gomaa he said quite a few people had told him that already. Now I'm even more optimistic that Gomaa will break the 15% threshold.


Well that's what I have to say and I'm attaching the picture of my pink thumb in case you're interested. Although my phone's camera isn't that good, it still gets the pink pretty well
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.