Barça election turnout soars, almost breaking 2010 record
Polling stations closed at 9pm but the club has still not given final turnout data
On 7 March 2020, fans were able to enter the Camp Nou for the last time to watch a Barça match. Today, just one year later, it is once again opening its doors to the public. But not for football, but to choose the new president of the club amid masks, gel and queues with security distance. Despite the restrictions of the pandemic, the event has so far exceeded expectations in terms of participation. As announced by the club, more than 55,676 members had already exercised their right to vote by 8pm (48.62% of the census). The number is higher than the turnout for the 2015 elections and is only 1,000 votes lower than the 2010 elections, when a record 57,088 members voted. The club is yet to confirm the final turnout.
The three candidates for the presidency - Joan Laporta, Toni Freixa and Víctor Font - have already voted, as have three of the captains of the first team: Sergi Busquets, Sergi Roberto and Leo Messi. In fact, this is the first time that the Argentinian has voted in the club's presidential elections. In 2003 he was an underage player and could not. In 2010, when he could have made his debut, he couldn't either because he was at the World Cup in South Africa, which had started two days before the elections, called up by coach Diego Armando Maradona. And in 2015, he went on a charity trip to Gabon, in an event organised by former Barça manager Jaume Ferrer.
Former presidents such as Sandro Rosell, Joan Gaspart and Enric Reyna also came to exercise their right to vote, as did Luis Enrique, current Spain coach and former Barça and Barça B coach. Àlex Abrines, player of the basketball team, has also voted, as well as the ex-Blaugrana Bojan Kirkic who, in his case, has voted in his polling station in Lleida.
As for the thousands and thousands of members who have already voted, some have admitted that they have skipped the regional lockdown in order to exercise their right to vote. "It's an important moment for the club and we need everyone to come and vote, wherever they live", explained some of the members who have avoided the restrictions. On the circumstances of voting in the middle of the pandemic, they are confident: "Everything is very well prepared for people to come and vote. There is no danger at all".
As far as security measures are concerned, the polling stations take extreme protective measures when collecting votes. At each door there is a security person who dispenses hydroalcoholic gel. Once in front of the polling station, the member has to deposit his/her ID card in a tray to make the corresponding checks. Afterwards, it is the same member who places the vote in the ballot box. There are two volunteers per table. They are equipped with a protective screen and double mask.