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Monday, May 10, 2010

Election Day 2010

Election day has finally arrived. The country has been gripped with election fever for the last eight months and now that it's finally here, Filipinos went to the polls in throngs.

This is the first automated elections for the Philippines.  The shift was never easy and there were problems in every step of the way.  Up to the last minute, there were problems about the machines, the process and even the paraphernalia to be used for the elections.

But these problems did not stop Filipinos from going to their respective precincts this morning.  I was one of those who went to the polling centers even before they opened and when I got there, it was a scene of total chaos.

Voters cannot find their precincts because these were already clustered into just seven voting areas.  I also had a hard time looking for my voting area because it was transferred and clustered with 6 other precincts.  When I got there,  the line going to the area was already long.

In fact, it took two hours before I was able to cast my vote.  The counting machine stopped three times during the time I was on line because of paper jam problems.  This delayed the process at least 30 minutes.  Once I got my ballot, the process was already smooth.

I observed that the space to be shaded was really small. It was very easy to make mistakes that could spoil one's ballot.  I feel sorry for those two elderly women whose ballots were rejected by the machine because they shaded beyond the borders of the area.

Speaking of the elderly, I think they should be given a special precinct where they can cast their vote.  There was an instance where one old man had to fall in line to vote.  I told his companion to ask if it was possible for him to go first.  Thankfully, the personnel were kind enough to allow him to vote ahead of everyone else.  What I could not understand though was the attitude of the other voters.  They got angry and even protested when the elderly were given this special treatment.  They were acting like that they themselves would never grow old.

From the number of people who went out to vote this morning, I can say that Filipinos still believe in the election process.  I hope no one would try to break this trust for his or her own gain. It was almost lost 6 years ago so let us all help protect and preserve it.

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