Saturday, May 1, 2010
Philippine Automated Election: Important Pointers for Voters
Before the election:
1. It will be more convenient if you have your registration and precinct validated before the day of the election, you can have it checked online using the COMELEC’s precinct finder. ;-) Just in case the online precinct finder does not have your record but you are sure that you are a registered voter, COMELEC usually send mail containing the voter's precinct details and sample ballot before the election day but if you fail to receive it, better coordinate with your barangay officials, or on the day of the election you can go to the clustered precinct that is nearest to your residence and check the voter's list.
2. It helps to be prepared so have a list of your preferred candidates, that way you will not take so much time inside the voting booth and also, you will not miss anyone you wish to elect or vote beyond the allowed number of official for each position. You can check the official list of candidates at the Comelec's website.
3. Markers that will be used for shading the ballot will be provided to you but you may bring your own black ballpoint pen or marker for your own use (only in case those markers cannot be relied on, we will never know). There is an available sample shading ballot which you can download for practice purpose.
On election day:
1. Precincts are expected to be opened from 7:00 AM until 6:00 PM, just be responsible enough to come early and not minutes before the closing time. ;-) Maybe you should bring water to drink and fan to cool you down, just in case you get stuck at the waiting line (the weather is just too unbearably hot, be cautious of heat stroke).
2. If you haven't used the online precinct finder, there is a voters' list conspicuously displayed outside each clustered precinct where you can check your name. If you did not find your name on this list, the Board of Election Inspector (BEI) also has a copy of the Election Day Computerized Voters List (EDCVL), you can still ask the BEI and check your name using the BEI's copy (as according to COMELEC, there is a probability that the copy of the BEI is more complete and updated than the list displayed outside the precinct). You might not find your name on the voters list if you have been deactivated for not voting for two consecutive elections and for some other reasons.
3. An orientation will be provided to you while waiting for your turn to get inside the polling precinct, you may skip the orientation if you already know what to do, you shall be allowed inside the polling precinct once there is an available slot (there is a maximum number of voters allowed inside the polling place, each voters might spend less than 10 minutes to complete the voting process so it should not take that long)
4. Present a valid ID to prove your identity to the BEI, after checking your name and affixing your signature, the BEI will give you the ballot, the secrecy folder and the marking pen. It is your right to check the ballot that will be given to you, ensure that it is free from any ink smudges or dirt, the bar codes should be properly printed (colored black, not gray) as dirty, crumpled or improperly printed ballot will surely be rejected by the PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machine and your vote will not be counted. So handle your ballot with care, ensure that you have clean hands, too. Ask immediately for replacement (prior to filling it out) if the one given to you does not pass your own QA (quality assurance) since BEI will not give you another ballot if you already shaded it and it was rejected by the PCOS (that means goodbye to your votes). Check also if the marker that will be given to you is functioning well as ink smudges on your ballot may cause your votes to be rejected by the PCOS.
5. If the ballot and the marker that were given to you passed your QA, you may start voting. Fully shade the oval beside the names of your preferred candidates/political party. Be warned that it is prohibited to use cellphones and take pictures of your ballot during the voting proper (as you might get accused for vote-buying). Check out the other prohibitions at the COMELEC’s website.
6. Once you are through filling out the ballot, approach the PCOS machine and insert properly your ballot in the entry slot. Don't worry as there are people from the BEI who shall monitor and assist you in using the PCOS. Wait until the ballot is dropped into the ballot box, the PCOS will display a message if your ballot was successfully accepted or not. If your ballot was rejected, your votes will not be counted (there is nothing you can do about it :( that is the sad news). The BEI shall include it in the minutes and shall mark your ballot accordingly.
7. Whether you have voted successfully or not, you shall return the ballot secrecy folder and marking pen to the BEI who shall apply an indelible ink on your right forefinger nail (or any other nail if you have no forefinger).
8. You shall then affix your thumb mark on the EDCVL (Election Day Computerized Voters List).
9. Once you are through, leave the polling place to give chance to others waiting in line.
There you go, it helps to be an informed voter, and since this is the first time that we will be doing this automated election, don't forget to bring a lot of patience, vigilance and wisdom with you.
Here are essential links which could be of good use to you.
Comelec's Precint Finder -http://www.comelec.gov.ph/precinctfinder/precinctfinder.aspx
List of Official Candidates -http://www.comelec.gov.ph/2010%20National_Local/certified_list_of_candidates_2010_toc.html
sample shading ballot - http://www.comelec.gov.ph/downloadables/sample_shading_ballot.png