Lots of fun things going on in Venice recently-- Festa della Sensa last weekend, the Biennale kicked off this past week, Vogolonga was yesterday as was the Palio, and yesterday and today was an important election throughout all of Italy. The election was particularly important for me as it was the first election in which I voted.
Voting took place Sunday, June 12 and today, June 13, in local schools. Some time ago I had received my official Tessere for voting, which contained the location of where I was to vote. This morning I set off to locate Dorsoduro 2403, the elementary school G. Zambelli. It's not far from where we live. When I arrived, I saw the sign for Sezione #50, which is the Sezione I vote in. Ok, so I had at least found the right place. And so far this all seemed very similar to going to vote in the US.
The young woman on the other side of the table asked me for my Carta d'Identita, looked up my name on the voting roster and checked me off. The man sitting at the next table handed me 4 pieces of colored paper that were about regular letter size paper(each one a different color) and a pencil, and pointed me to the opposite side of the room where two voting booths were set up. These weren't quite the voting booths I was used to using from back home. These were each two pieces of wood set up at an angle. I went behind the first one, and discovered there was a piece of wood angled between the two large pieces that formed a little ledge for you to write on. This was a far cry from the computerized voting booths I was accustomed to.
I spread out my 4 pieces of paper so I could read them. There was one piece of paper for each of the four referendums we were voting for. Each had a written description of the referendum on it, and two large boxes on the bottom of the paper. One box was labeled "Si", the other "No". It was clear I was supposed to put an X in one of the boxes. Each paper had already been folded, so I could see how it was supposed to be folded back up. I folded them all, noting that on the front portion of each there was a stamp and a signature already.
When I completed my voting, I exited the little booth, and handed my 4 pieces of folded up papers to the man who had given them to me a few minutes earlier. One at a time, he deposited them into big numbered cardboard boxes, one box for each of the four referendums. Next he took a stamp and stamped my Tessere. I should have known there would be a stamp or two involved. Italians love stamping things. He smiled at me, and said to me, in Italian, "This is your first time voting!". He handed my official documents back to me, smiled again, and I set off on my merry way.
I don't know why, but I never expected to be voting "by hand", nor did I expect to see ballot boxes.