I feel very Filipino today, can you guess why?
In case you’re living under a rock, today is election day for the Philippines. Today, we elect our leaders for the next six years. Today is also the day where we get to see the automation of the elections, which everyone has been talking/writing/discussing about for months and months now.
I finished voting about an hour ago. The entire voting process took about 5 minutes, but waiting took 3 hours. Here are some observations:
- There seems to be more people voting today. I don’t have a point of comparison since it’s my first time to vote, but my mom who was with me, told me there were more people there. No complaining on the crowds here, because a huge crowd meant more votes, which means more people are getting involved.
- Knowing your precinct and your cluster number before you line up is going to help. Seriously, it would help you a lot! I made sure I knew our precinct last night, and so when we asked around, it was easier to know. Don’t forget to ask for your sequence number when you check your cluster, so it’s easier to find you.
- Bring something to get your mind off the waiting. Waiting for three hours isn’t easy. Good thing my mom’s friends were there and I had a book to read while waiting. This is the perfect time for you to make a dent in that book you’ve been planning to read or need to finish.
- Patience! What’s three or so hours of waiting if it means 6 years of a better country? Smile as you wait, make friends with the people on the line. :) It’s hot, yes, and it may feel like you’re in a place with no furnace filters, but it’s just one day out of the year, for our country, it’s worth the sacrifice, right?
- The PCOS machine looked…well, cool. It may be the geek in me that rejoiced when I saw the machine. But it was cool. One step to making things easier for us, I hope?
- Be careful with shading. A note of warning: the ballots are kind of thin, and some of the marks you make on one side will be seen on the other side. It didn’t affect my ballot, but still, better be careful, right?
- I couldn’t breathe until I see “Congratulations!” on the PCOS screen. One guy went out after he voted and said that there were no rejected ballots in our room so far. I didn’t want to be the first one, so I was extremely careful while shading. My hands get sweaty at the most inopportune times, so I was careful to put my hand on my hanky so it won’t leave marks on the ballot! So I put it in the machine and it felt like forever before the machine told me the ballot was accepted. Then I breathed normally. :P
I’m pretty lucky to be in a municipality that isn’t really hot in the elections. It was quiet, and it was actually nice to see some of our neighbors and old high school classmates out. :)
And also I guess people were expecting a faster voting process, but remember, what they only automated is the counting, not the actual voting! If this is successful (or somewhat successful, one can hope :p), maybe they should work on making searching the names and places faster? Like putting everything in a centralized database so it’s computerized and it’s faster to find your name and all. Of course, precincts in the far-flung provinces might not get to use that…but then, whoever gets to be the next president can hopefully do something about that, right?
Now all we can do is wait and watch and pray for the rest of the day and for the results.
It’s a pretty successful voting experience for me, and I hope it gets better for others. Truth be told, I almost didn’t want to go later because I felt lazy, but I’m glad I did. I’m glad that even if I was just one person out of millions of voters, I did my part. :) How about you? Will you do yours?