Asilah Nasser was unsure where she was headed. The seamstress, a 63-year-old grandmother of eight, desperately wanted to vote but did not know where her registered polling place was located in the Cairo district of Sid Gabr. The instructions provided by the government and media were unclear and the numerous voting stations in the area left her utterly confused about how to fulfill her civic duty.But as she walked down a dusty street, passing putrid plastic bags full of refuse, she saw a group of young people directing other older Egyptians to polling places. Muhammad al-Arishi, a handsome young man wearing pressed gray trousers and sporting a trim beard, quickly approached her. After asking her a few brief questions and glancing at a chart on his clipboard, he scribbled a few words on a piece of paper and saw nasser off. On one side of her sheet was her designated polling place. The other side extolled the virtues of the Freedom and Justice party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.In nine of Egypt’s 27 provinces, people headed to the polls in late November in the country’s first free elections. The event marked the coming out of Islamist parties, long banned under President Hosni Mubarak, who was deposed in February as part of the Arab Spring challenging the region’s longstanding dictatorships. And while many Egyptians were overjoyed to participate in the democratic process, some feared the vote would decrease their freedoms rather than increase them.