Took us three hours to get our votes cast, but it was worth it. Let’s pray that there’ll be very little hitches in the next hours. Voting will be open until 7 PM.
My parents woke us up early, saying that we should start getting ready for so we can be at the precinct before 7 AM. We managed to get there around that time, and there was already a small queue. I was pretty excited to vote as this would be the 2nd time I’ll be doing so for president, third time for the local government (if memory serves me right).
Let me say that since this is a fairly new system, it’s understandable that there would be glitches and such. However, it would be nice if volunteers could think of a better way to facilitate faster voting (discounting the possible issues with the PCOS machine). In our precinct, there were two tables where voters could verify their precinct number, and that was already a problem on its own. One was supposed to be just a inquiry table for those who didn’t know what to do, while the other was the actual table for verification. Needless to say, there was a lot of confusion until it was sorted out.
After getting your number, voters would have to line up and wait their turn to vote. Since there is only one machine for our precinct (roughly 800 voters), they had to do it in groups of ten. It would’ve been fast, if not for the system slowing down and the voters rather clueless as to what to do.
There should also be more volunteers to oversee the queue for voting. I’ve seen one very tricky woman who managed to sneak into the line with us. She was ranting about how senior citizens should go first, then later she was saying “Dito lang ako sandali ha? Mainit sa baba eh.” Until finally she was in the room with us waiting our turn. What was irritating is that we’ve been waiting since 7 and she arrived around 9. Nakakainis. Even if someone told her, she just ignored them. I felt really sorry for the people who were patient enough to wait their turn.
The voting process itself was fast. The ballot was hella long, thanks to the party-list. My hands were shaking as I filled in the oblongs (hindi siya circle!). I was worried that the pen would stain on the back page, and it was visible. I just hope it won’t create any problems.
So after I filled in my vote, I went to the machine. I breathlessly waited for it as it said “Scanning,” then “Verifying,” then “Congratulations!” I went back to the BEI, had my finger marked (it’s so unslightly but I can bear with it) and did the thumbmark thing to verify that I voted.
And we were done. The voting process didn’t take more than ten minutes. Had there been little delays, we could’ve been done in less than thirty. But given that this is the first time this system has been implemented, it’s still pretty ok.
So, for improvement?
1. More machines in precincts to lessen the wait time.
2. Better verification process. Have the verification table present at the entrance of the precinct.
3. COMELEC should have verification booths available about a week ahead, so if people can’t find their names and they’ve voted before, they still have time to fix it.
4. More volunteers to watch over the voters and make sure they follow the guidelines. Many voters in our precinct loiter just to see what others are doing, causing confusion. Many also cut in line because they don’t want to wait.
5. Back-up plan should the machine fail (which I hope won’t be the case).
You have until 7 PM. Please vote. It really matters.
Me, my parents, my sister and one of my brothers. By next election, all my siblings and I will be voting. That’s five of us, plus my parents and my grandpa. 🙂