Thursday, May 13, 2010

My First Automated Voting Experience

Posted by The Queen Bee at Thursday, May 13, 2010
This is kinda late and the hype about the first automated Philippine election may have subsided but still, I would like to share my experience in exercising my right of suffrage the automated way.

The night before May 10, all of us at home were pumped up with the next day's big event. My sister who works in Manila came home and our friend came to Davao all the way from Polomolok, South Cotabato to vote because they were still registered here. We checked our precincts thru Comelec's website so that it would be easier for us to find our polling precincts. On election day, we woke up early as we anticipated that there will be long lines of voters since there was much hype about this automated election and we figured that there will be more voters who are eager to try the automated polls.

Clustered Precincts Dilemma

We went to our designated polling place before 10 AM. It didn't take long for us to find polling precinct though,Cluster 483, which is now composed of equivalent to six precincts in previous elections. Our clustered precinct is made up of precincts 1611A, 1611B,1612A,1612B,1613A and 1613B. I was voter # 115 in precinct 1613A. I wonder how COMELEC divided the precincts into clusters since my brother was in a different cluster and there was only one precinct in their cluster hence voters who belong to that cluster do not have to wait long hours to cast their vote. We immediately got our priority numbers. Our numbers were between 350 and 360 and the the numbers being called that time was still #130 so there were still 220 voters ahead of us. After getting hold of our numbers, we assisted dad to his precinct. If there is one thing I envy about being old, it's the privilege they get during these situations. In about thirty minutes, dad was done. So, we decided to just have a hearty lunch at Cafe Andessa after hurdling through a long line of people and come back in the afternoon.

Vote with Extra Care

After lunch, we decided to stay a little longer since we knew that our numbers are still far from the ones that were probably called. When we come back in the afternoon, the lines were longer. Thankfully, it was a cold day and there were sporadic showers so waiting wasn't much agonizing. We were finally able to vote at 4:00 in the afternoon. That was approximately more than six hours of waiting when it only took us fifteen minutes inside the polling precinct to cast our vote. I pity the guy before me who waited equally only to have his vote rejected by the PCOS machine because he accidentally marked the ballot while trying to put on the cap of the pen. Taking care of our votes, doesn't only apply to voting the right candidate but also means being extra careful as to not make unnecessary marks on the ballot.

It was a long and tiring day. It would have gone smoothly if not for the confusion that the clustered precincts brought. In my point of view, the poll automation was a success. Counting of votes is much quicker and teachers, BEI's and poll watchers are much safer now compared to previous elections.

I hope that this is the beginning of a better Philippines.

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