November 29, 2009 has finally arrived for the citizens of Honduras. Today they go to the polls to democratically elect their new president. I've had the television on since a little before 7:00 a.m. this morning when the polls were to open. So far, very little in the way of problems for the voters. The only thing I've heard is that at one polling place, a small group of 'resistencia' members tried to block the way to the school where voting was to take place. They were calmly removed by the police with no violence or excessive force used.
Observers and 'reporters' (those who are in attendence to report if there appears to be any questionable activity) are present at all polling places, as are journalists from around the world. Local TV has been interviewing people who are in line to vote and all are excited about the chance to choose their new leader. The polls close at 4:00 p.m. and preliminary results should begin coming in within 2 hours after the polls close.
Ballots began arriving in the very early hours today in cardboard boxes, with military personnel guarding them. Each voter will cast a ballot in each of 3 boxes, or 'urna' as they are called. The ballots all have color photographs of each candidate for President, as well as the members of Congress and other local elections. To my knowledge, there is no computerized way of counting the votes, so it will all be done by hand. Observers will be there to make sure it's all on the up and up. I'm optomistic that things will go well and a new president will be announced later tonight or tomorrow.
As for Citizen Zelaya, I've heard that Spain has turned down his request for political asylum and he has applied to Nicaragua. I would rather see him across the ocean than right next door. Being so close could be problematic for Honduras.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed and trying to be positive about today's election. Good for Honduras. Even better for the people of Honduras. Show the world that you came through this crisis with your head held high and your constitution intact!
(Thanks to Mitch Cummins of Roatan for the picture.)