Monday, May 10, 2010

Our First Automated Elections in the Philippines

Today marks a very important event in the Philippine history as we undergo the first ever national automated elections.   And this year we are voting for all government positions from our localities up to our presidential level.

This year we are voting for our new President and Vice President which both will be serving the next 6 years, 12 Senators who are also going to serve for 6 years, a Congressman to represent our district, a Mayor and Vice Mayor which will serve for the next 3 years, and 6 Councilors for the city council.   In the provinces, Governor, Vice Governor, and Board Member positions are also going to be elected.

Today, I made my way to my electoral precinct in Camarin, Caloocan City around 645am just a few minutes before the polls open up at 7am.  I'm glad that my aunt had come in earlier than me and I was informed earlier where my precinct is specifically located.   A queue of voters are already there when I arrived.  Many of which are excited to vote the first time by using the new Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine.  

Within our polling area, a number of volunteers wearing black shirts with yellow ribbons are around the area.  These are people who are volunteering to watch votes for the Lakas party.  
The queue was long and it took us about 2.5 hours to actually be able to cast my votes.  When I get my chance, first I had myself registered to the Board of Electoral Inspectors to be handed my long ballot which contains my option of 10 presidents, 8 vice presidents, 67 senators, and 189 partylists, plus the local candidates.  The ballot is more than 2 feet long.
Casting our votes are done by filling in round circles beside each candidate in the long ballot and afterward feeding the ballot to the PCOS machine provided by Smartmatic.

It was a new way and it was great to have this opportunity to experience it.  But due to some issues encountered by other precincts around the country in the PCOS machines deployed to them, the next thing we need to watch out for are the actual canvassing of the votes as the counts will be consolidated into one machine located in Manila through the use of mobile signals.   In about 2 hours, polls will close and we'll see the results getting out in the next hours after it for the local levels and within 48 hours for the national levels.

Keeping posted.

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