So the elections have occurred, Danilo Medina has claimed victory, although Hipolito Mejia has not quite conceded. (For a proper news report check out this, although they translate the Llegó Papa as Here’s Daddy, it’s more Papa arrived.) And there should not be a runoff. Thank goodness, all I have to do is last through a few days of celebration, and then for the most part politics should become less prevalent. I say this because in the last week there were more caravans, and the church behind my house was keeping longer hours (the brand of music is not conducive to me sleeping). Also for the day of election and the days surrounding the 20th, I was told by the Peace Corps not to leave my site. It’s was not a hardship, but I could not get errands done, and most Dominicans just wanted to talk politics, so not much was happening.
I was ready for this moment. I did think yesterday about the volunteers who COSed (COS is Close Out Service) simply a couple weeks weeks ago. They had to deal with almost all of the Dominican elections (I remember some older (by that I mean longer in country) volunteers mentioning it when we met them during training, and then go back to the US for around 6 months of US presidential elections. Glad timing wise, I can just vote by absentee ballot and not have to deal with the political commercials.
I was talking to my friend Anna saying I asked how exactly they voted and she said she knew because she saw the commercial showing how easy it was on TV. I had nto seen them because if I am watching TV, I will be watching the one connected to the cable and not the Dominican local stations. The election was only for president and vice president, and to vote you presented your cedula (it’s an identification form) and there would be a sheet with color pictures of the candidates along with the party color and the party, party number (everyone knows which number corresponds to which party) and names listed. The voter just needs to mark the one they use. Then after folding the ballot and dropping it in the box, then after signing all the proper forms and getting their finger inked they are done. To the right is Rafieny showing her support for the PLD, first she did a 2 in the form of a peace sign but then she decided to go for the L.
The day wasn’t too crazy around where I live. There was plenty of police/guards near the school where voting was taking place, which kept the process more orderly than it has been in the past, many said.
Polls closed at six and then the results were counted and reported it. It was quite of festive atmosphere. Both televisions in the house were turned to election results. As far as I know everyone in the house was supporting Danilo, so the mood was very jubilant. At one point on the larger television they started showing graphic representation of the provinces and I included a picture of this, just because you couldn’t not actually read the numbers.
When people began to feel confident about the elections, there of course was a caravan of vehicles piled with people (most holding the purple banners and flags of the PLD, although some still held the white PRD signs. Otherwise how would I know I was in the Dominican Republic. Yesterday some Dominicans greatly celebrated, but in my barrio all I saw was a few caravans.