CAIRO: I was boycotting the referendum. It was, in my opinion, the best way to send the message that I am against the proposed constitutional amendments.
It was also the best means to articulate that I did not want to grant recognition to the voting process in its entirety.
But at the same time, I was curious to experience this firsthand – from a voter s point of view.
As a result, I had to go to my polling station and vote myself.
Every room in the school had a ballot box, so I started searching for my voting number in different rooms of the school, till I finally found it, I thought.
But it turns out that there was another name, Manal, associated with my voter registration number. I searched again in all the forms, but we didn t find my name. I was told then that I should go and talk to the Interior Ministry s police officer outside the gates about the mix-up.
The officer had nothing to offer me but a suggestion to go to the police station where I m registered and see if they know how to resolve the discrepancy.
So I did go, and they found my name corresponding to the voter registration number.
But that was also the same number associated with this person named Manal.
So I went back to the school again, trying to find my name. As I searched in another room in the school, I found in this other room, my number again, with my name listed in front of it.
As the judge was checking my ID card and my voting card, I checked the ballot box. I found only about five votes had been cast before I had arrived.
I took the paper, went behind the curtain and started reading.
The paper had all the new articles written clearly, in their new form, and one question about all those amendments as a whole.
I kept thinking for a while about the question Do you agree with those amendments? Choosing Yes never occurred to me. I was wondering which answer would send a stronger message: choosing No or writing nothing at all.
After I was done with voting, and deposited the paper inside the ballot box, the judge told me to dip my finger in the phosphoric ink, which is used to prevent multiple voting.
The ink bottle was opened and unsealed as I waited. I wondered if that meant that the five people who had cast votes missed out on getting the ink stained to their fingers.
I left the school wondering, who Manal was, and whether she s going to be present the next time I cast my vote.
I was also thinking about the judge who answered me with a simple there are mistakes in the forms , when I asked her about the mix up with my name.