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Live updates: Voting begins

By-Almasry Alyoum | 23 May 2012

Egyptians are voting for the first president after the 25 January uprising today. More than 50 million citizens across Egypt’s 27 governorates are eligible to vote, choosing from 11 candidates. The contest is considered wide open. Egypt Independent will be bringing you live updates throughout the day.

10:30 am: Waits appear to be getting longer at some polling stations.
 
At Al-Taliaa Secondary Boys School in Sayeda Zeinab, hundreds of voters are lined up to enter the school. A few voters complained they were assigned the wrong number, but overall the process seemed to be going smoothly.
 
In Dar al-Salaam, some voters complained about the long waits.
 
“The only problem is that they’ve rounded up all the old people and given them the same station to vote in,” said Maghoub Ali, 64.
 
Voters seemed divided between former Arab League chief Amr Moussa and former Muslim Brotherhood member Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh, and were not hesitant to discuss the candidate they were casting their ballots for.
 
“We don’t want to be experimenting with the presidency,” said Ghada Mohamed, a 43-year-old schoolteacher voting in Basateen, a neighborhood in southern Cairo. “Moussa has his flaws but he is the lesser of evils.”
 
10:00 am: Turnout so far appears to be low.
 
Polling stations in Suez are largely empty. There is a very short line outside of the Sayeda Aisha School in the central Arbaeen district. At a polling station at the Ahmed Oraby Elementary School in Cairo’s Dar al-Salaam neighborhood, Moez Mohamed Nour, an election observer, said, “So far things have gone smoothly, but I’m disappointed with the low turnout. But I am expecting more people in the afternoon and tomorrow, since it’s Thursday, which a lot of people have off.”
 
Polling stations in Giza and Heliopolis are free of long lines, according to Egypt Independent correspondents.
 
There have been some minor irregularities. Ahmed Abul Amayem, the judge supervising the polling station at Sayeda Aisha School in Suez, said that half of the employees who were supposed help run the polls have not yet arrived. He opened the polling station with the employees available to him. At the Ali Mubarak School in the Cairo neighborhood of Marg, voting began more than 15 minutes late after the Mohamed Morsy campaign sent 11 observers to the polling station instead of the prescribed number, two.
 
Local watchdog Activists without Borders has said in a statement that some of its activists reported members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been trying to influence voters. The statement added that the Brotherhood’s supporters are standing outside the polling station, trying to convince voters to vote for Mohamed Morsy.
 
9:30 am: Egypt Independent’s correspondent in Suez reports that most polling stations in that city are still empty.
 
State-run news agency MENA reports that one female voter has filed a complaint against an employee at a polling station in Nasr City. She said the employee told her she should vote for Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsy. The judges in the polling station decided immediately to dismiss the employee, MENA says.
 
8:00 am: Polling stations, which are usually held in schools and are divided according to gender, officially open. Lines have already begun to form.
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