The last post I wrote was about the Constitutional election that was held on Sunday, September 4. The country seemed to be on edge not knowing how it was going to go. “Apruebo” was the “I Approve” and “Rechazo” was “I Reject”. The thinking was there was going to be social unrest either way the election turned out. We, along with others that suggested it, bought extra food items, toilet paper, and water in case the stores had to be boarded up from looters. We also filled up the car with gas to avoid possible long lines at the pumps.
We went to vote even though Chile rescinded our permanent residency for not coming to Chile in 2018. However, there is a website that citizens and residents can put their RUT (ID) number in and it tells you whether you were required to vote. Surprisingly, we were! The website included the location of where to vote and also the table to look for.
The voting process was a dream and one that the US should look in to. It was very secure and fast. The line of voters was around the building when we got to our voting place. We were lead in through the building and told what room to go to. We found table 233. Along with our Chilean identification card, knowledge of the proper way to vote (draw a vertical line only through the line beside your choice), a concealed booth, a specifically folded ballot with a detachable ID code, a sticker on the completed folded ballot that the voter presses on himself, and a signature beside the ID number it took us five minutes. It may sound complicated and involved but it truly was easy.
Everything is closed on Voting Day. The malls, restaurants, coffee shops, etc. close because everyone is required to vote. In fact, they impose a fine on you if you don’t. I haven’t found out how they do that yet.
Around 7-8:00pm friends began to text us that the new constitution had been rejected. It was a landslide win 68-32 so the majority had spoken. Some of the issues that supporters of Rechazo were concerned with were the possibility of no more personal property, the ability to have an abortion at anytime, the pension funds given to the government at one’s death, and the giving of special/extra rights to the indigenous people.
I am so thankful for the peace. Our Chilena Spanish teacher told us before the vote that she felt her people were tired and depressed. It has been a long three years for them.
I am pretty sure there is going to be work done on the issues in the future. Hopefully it will be done in a bipartisan way to help the Chilean people.