An election is not only about politics. Its also about people. Its about the people that believe in democracy. This is especially difficult in areas that has undergone conflict, political unrest or political stagnation.
I thought a lot about this when I travelled around in the eastern part of Sudan in 2009 for the referendum on independence. What looked like a short distance on the map took us five days to travel. At times, it took hours for us to travel in between polling stations in the middle of the desert.
In one of these remote polling stations I met a woman. She was frustrated since she had gone to the wrong polling station. She sat down in exhaustion after arguing with the staff at the polling station. When I asked her what had happened she said that she had walked for hours in the desert to come here to cast her vote. It was important for her she said. All I could think about is how I took my right to vote for granted. That I hardly felt like voting and this woman that was not able to read or write had walked for miles just to cast her vote. She walked away with some others in order to get instructions where to vote and I was left with my thoughts.
As an election observer you get to meet these amazing people and see places you would never have travelled to yourself. The pictures gives you an insight to the people I met along the way travelling to the polling stations.
The photos were taken in Sudan (2009), Georgia (2012), Egypt (2014), Kirgizistan (2015) while working as an election observer for OSCE and the EU.
Sofia has lived and worked in Palestine, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Egypt and Bosnia - Mainly with development aid. While residing in Sweden since 2018, she still travels a lot in line of duty. She is also an international election observer. More about Sofia on her member page.
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