Sunday, April 18, 2010

2010 Philippine Elections: Voting Day Tips

Last week,  I did my civic duty by voting at the Philippine Embassy.  Polling stations were set up in makeshift, airconditioned tents scattered in various parts of the embassy grounds.   First I registered to find out which of the 7 precincts I belonged to.  At the precinct,  the officers checked to see that my passport / IC matched the scanned picture in the listing.  Not bad... that should hopefully address the problem of multiple registrations.   Everything sailed smoothly.  I was given specific instructions by the BOE Inspectors who took pains not to see my ballot after it had been accomplished.  I got a slight kick out of seeing my ballot being fed into the PCOS machine and seeing the confirmation that it was ok.  

I must say that it took me a little longer than usual to accomplish the ballot so I have the following tips:

1.   Are you registered?  Check online!
If you don't know your precinct yet,  you'll waste a lot of time finding it on the day itself when you're battling with a horde of voters.  Go online and find your precinct in less than a minute:
Overseas Absentee Voters:
For those voting in the Philippines:

2.  Have a alphabetical codigo.  Unlike previous elections where you would just write down your candidate's name,  you now have to sift though a whole slew of options.  Try whittling the 61 senatorial candidates down to 12, or the 187 Party-List candidates down to 1 and you'll see what I mean.  You may download a sample ballot by clicking on this link (sample lists only candidates for President, VP, Senator & PartyList).   Bring your prepared list of chosen candidates with you on the day.

2.    Bring a book and fan.  I went during a weekday so I was the only one in the line for my precinct.  I do anticipate that come the weekend,  the lines will be quite long as extra time will be spent cross-checking pictures/names, explaining the rules and completing the form.

3.  Itiman/i-shade ang loob ng bilog sa tapat ng pangalan ng kandidatong napupusuan.
Let the Sex Bomb Dancers teach you what needs to be done:

4.  Count.     Yes,  COUNT!

If your vote exceeds the following count your vote will not be valid. The count should be exact or less in order to be valid.

President - 1
Vice-President -1
Senator - 12
Party-List Group - 1
Congressman - 1
Governor - 1
Vice-Governor - 1
Mayor - 1
Vice-Mayor - 1
Councilor - 10

My concerns:
1.  The new ballot is very user unfriendly for those with reading problems and extra care needs to be taken that impartial instructions are given to them.
2.  There should be parallel counting to crosscheck the electronic tally with the manual ballot.  As seen in the HK OAV voting experience,  the machines are sensitive to a number of external factors.  A hopeless cynic,  I'm hoping that no "miracles" happen during the transit to the Comelec.


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