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A 1459 km journey to vote

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How far would you go to vote? I travelled 1459 km to take part in the European Parliament elections. This is how it went.
A young girl voting.
A young girl voting.

My journey back home began early on Friday morning. The excitement of heading back to Spain was mixed with some anticipation anxiety. Voting in the European Parliament elections felt important, especially after having worked in Brussels for the past five months and witnessing firsthand the importance of citizen participation. 


The flight from Brussels to Madrid was smooth, and upon landing I was welcomed by the familiar landscape of Spain and the intense summer weather that characterises this time of the year. 


In Madrid, I met up with my sister and together we got a train back to our hometown in Alicante where the voting was happening the following day.

Plaza Mayor in Madrid
A brief stop in Madrid before heading back home.

The voting experience

On election day, I felt prepared. I woke up early, had breakfast with my family and we all headed to the polling station. 


In Spain, it is normal for polling stations to be set up in schools, so once we entered the building we had to find the “classroom” assigned to us according to the first letter of our last name. A small room at the end of a corridor that was already filled with families and people of all ages queuing to use their vote. 


Then all we had to do was pick a ballot, seal it inside one of the provided envelopes and place it in the ballot box. The whole thing didn’t take longer than 50 seconds. 


The process usually goes like this: You show your ID card, your name gets called out loud for confirmation, they assign a number to your vote and then you can go ahead and place the envelope inside the box. 

A sign by the door of the polling station informing about who should vote in the room.
A sign by the door of the polling station.


After voting, I took a moment to reflect on the experience. Travelling back home to vote was more than just a logistical challenge; it was a great opportunity for me to think about the future I want to live in and my role in shaping it.  The trip reminded me of the importance of participating in the democratic process, regardless of the (in my case small) obstacles you might encounter.


Thank you for following my journey. Stay tuned to all ESN social media channels for more updates and stories from my adventures in Brussels and beyond.

A young woman voting.
My sister moments before voting, while her information was being checked.