It’s Election Time

Episode 64 – Tuesday, May 10th, 2016 (7070)

voter-philippines

(I supposed to publish this episode yesterday, May 9th – Election Day, but I felt weary as I was not feeling well, and I was busy watching election coverage thru live streaming at the office.)

This year, the nation is not just hot as we’ve now experienced this summer but also hot as the politicians running for their desired positions, national and local. This was my third time to vote for the national and local positions (my second time to vote for president and vice-president) since 2010, and it was also the third time that the elections were automated. And just yesterday (May 9th), I went to the precinct inside an elementary school in Santa Rosa, Laguna to vote.

Despite of not feeling 100% well, I was able to go there early around 6:20 in the morning to avoid getting crowded from the people coming to their precincts. But when I arrived there, there were many people already on the streets asking for the location where they would vote. I checked the map of the elementary school, and I went to a school building where my assigned precinct was located. Suddenly, when I went upstairs, some people were already falling in line to the precinct where I was in the list. Although the line was not so long as I arrived there early, I came up to the line with them waiting for about 15 minutes until we’re able to enter the classroom after the volunteers set up the voting materials. After validating my name on the list, I finally received a ballot that I would shade down the list for the president, vice-president, senators, and other local officials. After some 10 minutes (and I didn’t shade some other candidates (considered as undervote)), it’s time to insert my ballot into vote-counting machine (VCM). And the machine didn’t fail as my ballot was successfully counted. Then, the receipt was released to check if there were some discrepancies. But after I checked it, it seemed okay where the listed names on the receipt were the same as I shaded them on the ballot. The receipt was placed into the black box as a valid vote. After, one of the volunteers inked my right index finger indicating that I already voted (unfortunately, I didn’t wipe up my inked finger on the cloth after applied making it hardly removed for several hours or even days, I think).

After voting, I went out from the precinct (or classroom) without any trouble or distraction (as I know my enemies would come there to vote). Fortunately, I made it peacefully and successfully. I went out from the school, and I felt OK! I was done! Then, I went to the office for my “exile” (as you know, I don’t like to stay at home during daylight because it’s so hot and my jobless elder brother will call my name again and again making me so annoying).

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Within three months before the Filipino people decided to vote, the Filipino politicians were making noise for their campaigns across the country. Noisy campaign jingles running on the roads, making some “circus” and festive things (e.g. dancing), campaign materials like posters, leaflets, etc., campaign TV and radio ads, accusations against each other, violence, threat, and arguing for their bets especially in social media are the impacts during the election period. Vote buying, some violence and election fraud are usual every Election Day. And as we expected after the elections, the winners are winners while losers are telling that they’re cheated (as we know these so many times), but nevertheless they are still losers. And their campaign materials used during the campaign and Election Day are going to be wasted (tons of garbage will be collected, I’m sure).

Flashback when I previously voted

The elections in the Philippines are held every three years (six years for presidential). And I’ve been there (as a voter, of course) to vote since 2010. The requirements to become a registered voter are the following: 18 years old and above, a Filipino citizen, a resident of the place where you intend to vote for at least six months before Election Day, has no any mentally incapability, and has no any criminal charges or having sentenced in imprisonment. Thus, I’m qualified to be a voter for the three-year elections.

In 2007 Elections, however, I was not yet a registered voter even though I was over 18. So, I started to register via biometrics in downtown Santa Rosa, Laguna by the following year. But getting for voter’s ID was taken too long since the registration for first timers (as I was when I finally got my voter’s ID about 3 or 4 years later). This led me to vote for the 2010 elections for the very first time in my whole life.

In 2010, beside of being first-timer, there was also a historic change happened in election history. Full automation election was implemented for the first time where the voters would shade the empty ovals representing of their chosen candidates in a special type of paper (as a ballot) then they would insert it into Precinct Count Optical Scanner (shortened for PCOS machine, the predecessor of VCM) to validate their votes. Prior 2010 elections, the voters had written their chosen candidates (handwritten) on the ballot, and the poll-watchers would canvass the votes manually. But since 2010, the votes are now automatically counted thru (PCOS) machines and transmitted to the server to tabulate the overall votes. I was the one who were the lucky first-timers though because of full automated elections. I didn’t need to hand write my chosen candidates on the ballot instead I just encircled them… carefully (yeah, it must be shaded, not checked, ticked off or crossed out, very neatly or else your votes will be invalid).

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Vote-counting machine (VCM) on pilot testing (Photo courtesy from Rappler.com)

On the Election Day (May 10th, 2010), I went to the precinct as early as 7am at an elementary school in Santa Rosa, Laguna. However, I just went there alone because of somewhat security. As you know, the previous year (2009) was so bad for me because of controversy, and my former college classmate (now enemy) was registered on the same precinct as I had been listed. So, I decided to go there and to vote early to avoid unexpected circumstances. As a first time voter, I felt satisfied on the system where the poll-watchers (mostly were teachers) properly and peaceful prepared. I was inside the precinct for about 15-20 minutes before I went home alone with a blue ink on my finger indicating that I already voted and of course, thanked God because there’s nothing happened badly on me (I knew that my enemies would go there sooner on that day). The other members of my family would follow to vote somewhat later on that morning.

In 2013 Elections, I did vote for national (senators only) and local positions for my second time. However, I came to the precinct to vote only in mid-afternoon (but not later than 3pm). It was because I went home straight from my night-shift work in Mandaluyong. I didn’t go straight to the school where the precinct (where I was listed to vote) was there. Probably because I felt tired (although I was still able to go to internet café for the updates of the elections), I went home first. But my mother insisted me to go to the precinct to vote. So, after my lunch, I went there (walking thru shortcut) in a rainy Monday afternoon to vote. Fortunately, there’s nothing happened to me from any unexpected situations (as well as my enemies were still around), and I safely returned home from the school.

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After the peaceful elections (hopefully), I’m hoping that the newly-elected president will be ready to fix our nation’s problems. Six full years as a president is not a simple job for one of those. I’m now starting to congratulate the leading candidate after winning for the presidency, and I’m wishing the new president to have more blessings being the leader of our beloved country. God bless our country and our Filipino people.

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One response

  1. Pingback: 100 | My Tent Journal

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