I was fortunate enough to be able to attach myself to an election monitoring team yesterday. This gives one better access to polling stations and given nothing on TV, an interesting day moving about.
One difference between the 2nd round and 1st round voting days was the absence of clashes between rival party supporters before the vote. It has been pretty quiet in Dili in this regard.
Based on what I saw and on comparisons others have made between today’s vote and the last vote was that things seemed a bit quicker and streamlined. At one polling station, I did a simple timed count and found they could process voters at a rate of one every 20 seconds when in full flight. At the first election, the figure was around 30 seconds.
A similar pattern emerged to last time – everyone is keen to get the whole thing over as soon as possible. Both personal observation and other feedback suggests a similar desire to queue up before 7am and a preparedness to queue for up to 3 hours despite most voting over and done with by noon.
The early voting figures from the polling centre I saw suggested that Jose Ramos-Horta clearly led the polling in Dili. Other feedback from other observers suggested similar results around Dili. There appear no surprises in that respect.
There were some security issues associated with some of the local Timorese hanging around during the vote counting but in the end, nothing happened. I expect to hear a few things on the grapevine today.