(Check at the bottom of this post for the links to the results or updates on it)
It was my first time to vote last Monday, May 10, 2010, and it was during the First Automated Elections of my country, the Philippines. The whole ordeal was exhausting, but it was still fun, interesting and satisfying as a Filipino voter. And I would like to sincerely thank my candidate for Presidency, Richard Gordon, for going through tooth and nail just to get the Automated Elections bill passed in the Senate.
And before I continue talking about my experience as a first time voter, I would like to sincerely thank all those who supported former Senator Richard Gordon in his bid for the Presidency. I will continue to support him and I’m hoping that he’ll get a chance to lead the country after 6 years. Now, whatever color you were supporting, it’s time we unite again as one nation to help the newly-elected leaders of our country towards a better Philippines.
So, now, on with my experience as a first time voter. I was a bit nervous and very excited to vote. I chose this year to vote even after I was already registered since 2003. Why? Because Richard Gordon was running for President. He was the only candidate I believed in, hence, I went out yesterday to vote for him. I was even wearing RED.
I was able to convince my mom and my brother to vote for Richard Gordon. My nanay was initially a Noynoy supporter, like my dad, but I was able to make her realize Gordon is the BEST candidate for the Presidency. I wasn’t able to sway my dad’s vote for Noynoy, but I’m happy that 3 of us voted for Gordon. My partner Mai wasn’t able to register here in Malabon so she didn’t get a chance to vote for him, too.
I was so excited to vote that I barely got any sleep the night before. I even told Mai I don’t want to sleep anymore, but we were opening our internet cafe in the afternoon so I decided to get about an hour of sleep before heading out to vote.
My nanay, tatay and I were voting at the same precinct while my brother voted just a few meters away from our home in Malabon.
When we arrived in our precinct, it was a quarter before 8am. There were a lot of people already lined up. Good thing I checked our precinct online so we won’t have to worry about looking for our names, etc. I checked it weeks ago, including my brother’s. So, we just looked for the cluster and the area where our precinct was assigned.
Because we only had 82,000 PCOS (pronounced as “pi-kos”) machines here in the Philippines and 100,000+ precincts, there was a need to combine 3 or more precincts into one so all clusters will get 1 PCOS machine.
This clustering resulted to long queues at the precincts. Most of the people were also a bit confused as to what they needed to do. The watchers in our precinct weren’t of much help either. Most of them were people we knew back then so they were a bit excited to help us out. For the rest of the voters there, they weren’t as helpful. My nanay and I tried our best to guide the confused while we were in line.
It was really hot outside and so we were really all sweaty. Good thing we brought fans that were given out by Mayor Toby Tiangco, the ONLY candidate for Congressman in Navotas City. It was all okay for me to bring it to the precinct since there are no other candidates running against him.
Look at how sweaty my nanay and I was while we were waiting in line to get our priority #. With this heat, one won’t need any diet pills that work. You can just stay outside and let the sun burn your fats without even exercising. Alright, just kidding! *LOL*
By the way, outside the school where I was casting my vote, there were a lot of people giving away “sample ballots” with the names of different candidates from the Presidency down to the councilors. They were even handing out mini-fliers of other candidates, which I know is against the law. I didn’t get a chance to take a photo of them to report them because my mom was in a hurry because we saw long lines of people already inside. However, I got to take a photo of the one “sample ballot” I got. I wonder, since Erap is #2 in the results, could it be that these sample ballots resulted to him being in the top 2?
After checking our names on the precinct list of registered voters, we lined up to get our priority number. The BEI representative asked for my precinct #, what # I was on the list of names, and for my full name. There were already 110 voters before us so we just waited for our turn.
We waited at the room beside the voting area. Inside, there was this poster of reminders and instructions on how to vote in our first automated elections.In about 30 minutes, we heard our numbers called. We already had a priority number for my dad, but he had to accompany my brother because it was also his first time to vote. By the way, he finished way ahead of us and was already at home a few minutes before our numbers were called.
Senior citizens and pregnant voters were prioritized. There was also one BEI representative helping them out inside the voting area. A teacher was organizing the queue and people entering the voting area. I admire her for being strict with the whole process because, unlike the other precincts, there were only a few people complaining.
Once I got inside the voting area, I gave my priority number to a BEI representative with my ID. It was pretty easy because the details included at the back of my priority # made it easy for them to look for my name. I signed first and they gave me a Secrecy folder with my ballot and they handed me a marker, too.
I made sure the ballot wasn’t marked with any dirt, ink, etc. Then, I proceeded to shade the circles corresponding to the candidates I was voting for. I already prepared a list, a kodigo. However, while I was voting, I changed some of my votes for the Senator posts.
My mom and I reviewed our list before we went out to vote. She completed her list of 12 senators while we were waiting. Some of the ones she voted for weren’t on my list, but overall, I was pretty happy with the ones she listed. Here’s a photo of her completing her list:
I reviewed my ballot first before I went to the PCOS machine. I made sure the names of Gordon and Bayani were shaded completely, first of all, of course. Afterwards, I went to the BEI representatives to give them back my folder and marker.
The PCOS machine looked like a HUGE, black trash can. I’m not kidding! I was expecting it to look more like an ATM machine. But, it really looked like a big plastic trash can. By the way, follow @PCOSmachine on Twitter. The person behind this Twitter account is HILARIOUS!
I fed my ballot to the PCOS machine. I waited for the screen to say CONGRATULATIONS! After a couple of seconds, it said, “Congratulations! Your vote has been counted!”, I think. Basta, it said “Congratulations!”.
After that, I went to the BEI reps table to print my thumb mark on their official list of voters and to have my index finger marked with indelible ink. I’m glad that they were doing this AFTER I fed my ballot to the PCOS machine because I’ve heard from reports on Twitter that other BEI reps and precincts were doing it BEFORE the ballots were even marked by the voters. This could’ve resulted to some ballots not being accepted by the PCOS machine. Tsk tsk. Poor voters. I imagine how it’ll feel if my ballot was not accepted by the PCOS machine. I’ll be devastated!!
Overall, I was pretty happy with the voting process. Thank you, Gordon, for bringing this to our country. It took me less than 2 minutes to mark all the names of the candidates I’m supporting. The whole voting process, from the verification to the marking of indelible ink, excluding the queueing, only lasted for about 5 to 8 minutes. Before, we used to write down all the names of who we were voting for. Now, senior citizens, even disabled voters, can easily vote because of the Automated Elections.
I’m not completely happy with the results (Check at the bottom of this post for the links to the results or updates on it). I was really hoping and praying for a Richard Gordon presidency because I strongly believe in what he can do for our country. However, this doesn’t mean I’ll join unnecessary revolutions to remove any of the newly-elected officials. The only thing I’ll do now is be more active when it comes to political discussions, be more vigilant and you’ll all see that on this blog. I’m a changed Filipino now because of Richard Gordon.
To President Noynoy Aquino, I hope you can help restore the faith of the Filipino people to the government. I hope you can make our country prosper. And I hope that you will choose wisely when you start appointing people to work under your government. Congratulations and I’ll be praying for your success.
In 2016, I’m hoping the Filipino people will be ready for a Richard Gordon presidency. I want to experience the kind of leadership and change he can bring to our nation before I die.
ALL COLORS, UNITE!
For updates on the election results:
Follow @PCOSmachine on Twitter.