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May 10, 2010, another historic day that would mark in the Philippine history. Today, Filipinos has casted their precious votes to elect their 15th president. For years, Filipinos were used to cast their votes using a blank ballot wherein they would write the name of their chosen candidate. That’s the old system of election.
Today, it is different. It would be the first time in the history of Philippine Elections to have it in automation. It is not enough that you know how to read and write. This time, voters need to follow a strict protocol in order for them to cast their vote. Instead of writing their chosen candidate’s name, they would now shade the oblong in the left side of the name of their candidate. You can’t use just any kind of pen to mark it. You would be provided with a specific marker by the election personnel. You also need to be very careful on shading, it should not blot on the other side of the ballot and it should fill the oblong perfectly, or else the PCOS or the Precinct Count Optical Scanner will not accept it and have it invalidated. You should be very careful not to over vote because again it would be invalidated.
Though the things mentioned above are easy to follow, but for those Filipinos who barely read and write, for those senior citizens who are having a hard time reading minute words, for those illeterate ones, these things are of great burden to their part. The Commission on Elections of the Phillipines has been doing massive election campaigns , briefings, dry-runs and a lot of orientations nationwide, but the nevertheless, a lot of the Filipinos are still anxious about it.
Commelec has always been saying that everything is under control, yet few days before the election day, a reconfiguration has been made to all the official memory cards of the machine because of a technical problem. The arising doubts and queries of a successful election has heightened a lot more after what has happened. Still they are insisting that they are trying their very best to solve the problem.
The voting process per se is not the reason behind the slow progress of the election. The systematic way of controlling the traffic is the main problem. 5-7 precincts has been clustered into 1 this time, so you would really expect a huge number of people getting inside the small election precinct. If the Election Officer of that particular precinct knows how to handle the huge number of people, then there is no doubt that it would run smoothly. Some precincts are using priority numbers to control them while some are providing mini board list outside their precinct wherein you can write your name there and follow your number in the list. However, there are precincts which has been calling the names of the voters one by one to check if they are around and have them to vote, which is very time consuming and requires a lot of effort. Some election volunteers are letting their friends and relatives to vote first which is very unfair
It is not a reason though that since it is the first time of having an automated election, these problems are inevitable. It should have been overseen way way ahead of time. This is not time for evaluation. This election will give a great impact in the lives of the Filipinos. Let’s just pray that this would become successful.
UPDATE: Check out the latest Philippine Election Results as of 9:00 AM, May 11, 2010 from 79% of Polling Precincts.