The only setback for the Nicoya plebiscite occured at at 7am when the voting stations were supposed to open their doors. Two people in charge of voting material didn’t show up to open their station at the Leonidas Briceño school in downtown Nicoya. The voting material didn’t show up on time either.
One arrived at 7:30am and another at 9am. This made the members of the plebiscite coordinating committee sweat. But at 10am, officially, all 86 stations were open.
“The law anticipates these things and says that the voting station can open late as long as it doesn’t open later than noon,” explained Hector Fernandez, the TSE’s director of voting registration.
At noon, both camps started to sweat over what they considered an even bigger problem: the absence of people at voting booths.
“Abstention is the big rival, and disinformation even more so,” said ‘yes’ camp’s Carlos Martinez outside the Leonidas Briceño school.
Just 25 meters away, one of the leaders of the ‘no’ camp, Edwin Castillo, classified the election as “cold” and said that the high levels of disinformation was the cause.
He spoke as he awaited several pieces of paper on which ‘no’ supporters jotted down notes that they received via message or phone call. Edwin said that in Nosara, 80 percent of eligible voters cast ballots, but in the remaining areas only 30 percent of voters turned out.
After saying so, he sought hope in the decision that Supreme Election Court still must issue on whether or not to annul the results.
“It’s a second option for stopping this from happening (the Nosara CMD)” he said.
In this school, political figures such as the National Liberation Party’s former candidate for president Sigifredo Aiza and Marta Araúz cast their ballots.
While Arauz said that she wouldn’t reveal which side she voted for, Aiza was blunt. He sat at the entrance to the school and said to everyone who entered, “support us with a no.”
“If ‘yes’ wins, Nosara loses and Nicoya loses,” Aiza said. He justified his position by saying that a bad city administration can’t be the cause of a district being sold to foreigners.”
At noon in Nosara, the TSE’s director of voting registration Hector Fernandez said that he perceived higher turnout in that district, which is seeking independence.
“We were in Leonidas Briceño until 10am and turnout was low. In Nosara there were a lot more people,” he told The Voice of Guanacaste. “There are three voting stations and when we got there there was a line at all three.”
People who live in the coastal district also perceived high numbers. “A lot of people. Nosara feels beautiful,” said Ethel Araya, a ‘yes’ volunteers in Nosara.
As the afternoon approached, the environment in Nicoya heated up. Some thought that, as ticos, we left everything to the last minute and others said that morning religious activities and the national soccer team’s game stole the attention of voters in the morning.
Uncertainty continues among both camps and abstention levels, leaders say, continue to be the plebiscite’s biggest enemy.