When South Korea conducted elections during the Covid pandemic in 2020, I was awestruck by the arrangements and the discipline exhibited by their citizens. I could not stop appreciating their Government machinery which was behind such a wonderful execution.
On 6th April 2021, I never knew that I would be in for a bigger surprise. Yes, the big democratic carnival was unfolding in Tamilnadu which was going to the polls to elect the next local Government which will be ruling the state for the next 5 years. Myself and my wife geared up early in the morning to cast our votes so that we could avoid the scorching heat. Well aware of the Covid protocols, we reached the venue wearing our face mask and took a small hand sanitizer as well as an added precaution. The place was certainly like a carnival with so many early birds like us.
Government school – Polling station
We were greeted at the gate by couple of youngsters (presumably the Government employees who were posted on special duty). They were checking our voter identity card and directing us to the right queue to stand in. Then came a thermal check by one of the staff measuring our body temperature who was then followed by another staff dispersing hand sanitizers to each of us.
Extremely impressed and satisfied with the greetings and the entry protocol, we joined our respective queue (men and women separate). It was indeed a wonder to see that all of them were wearing face masks and every Police officer on duty and other Government officials were wearing both face masks and hand gloves. I was amazed by the governance displayed by the officials in maintaining absolute discipline and order in the polling station. They were strict with people who were taking it easy and were helpful and friendly with others who needed assistance.
My astonishment doubled when my turn came to vote. My temperature was checked again and I was again given hand sanitizers before another employee handed over me a glove for my right hand. All done, I stepped inside the actual polling room where the voting compartment was kept. It was a very organized and systematic checking and validation done by the polling officers on duty which impressed me further. Finally I exercised my constitutional right and I was walking my way out. At the exit I was guided by one of the officers to dispose of my glove in a very neatly and hygienically placed rubbish bin.
I came out walking with a sense of pride and happiness and was determined to express my salute and appreciation to the local Government and the Electoral Commission for executing such a massive event so well and that too with high standards.