Monday, May 10, 2010 is Election Day.
It will be the first time more than 50 million voters are going experience a different kind of election as it’s the first time we’re going automated, meaning we will fill out new ballots and personally feed it to a machine that will read our votes. Just like any new things that we do, we must be aware of how to properly vote as small things that we take for granted can spell the difference between getting your votes counted and wasting your vote. Remember you’re entitled to only one vote and you’re not allowed to make mistakes.
Here is Charaven’s guide to automated voting.
Before Election Day
- Find your precinct. Make sure to check beforehand your designated precinct, as there have been some changes. Usually people in the same household are assigned to the same precinct, though there are some instance that this is not the case so better check ahead. You can go to the Comelec website’s precinct finder to check, just be sure you enter all the required information to get the correct result, otherwise you will be getting a message that you are not registered. You can also find out beforehand through your Barangay, your Voter’s ID number, precinct number, and your sequence number (the number beside your name on the list). This should speed up your voting. If this fails, be early on election day so that you will have time to find your name on the voter’s list.
- Familiarize yourself with the ballot. Surely you might find some sample ballot being handed out by those running for position, but before election day it is smart to look at the sample ballot on the Comelec website as you might be overwhelmed with the number of running officials and partylist organizations. Remember too, that your local election ballot is at the back of the national election one.
- Finalize your list of candidates. If before we just need to memorize the candidates’ names, this time we also need to know their corresponding numbers. Take note that the ballot is so long and filled with names and numbers, so it’s easy to be confused. Make your own list preferably alphabetically by last name and with their corresponding numbers. For the National elections, you’re voting one (1) President, one (1) Vice-President, twelve (12) Senators and one (1) Partylist Organization. For the Local elections, you’re voting for one (1) Mayor, one (1) Vice Mayor, six (6) Councilors, one (1) City Representative or one (1) Congressman/woman, and, where it applies, one (1) Governor and one (1)Vice Governor. Again, make those choices beforehand, and remember their numbers.
On Election Day
- Be early. Wake up early and try to vote first thing in the morning. Bear in mind that voting hours is only from 7am to 6pm, come early to have time to solve any problem. Don’t wait the last minute to cast your votes though we have a much longer time to vote, some precincts were merged thus more voters per precincts.
- Bring a valid ID, voter’s ID will be preferred but if you don’t have one, present a driver’s license, passport, etc., any valid ID with your address and preferably a photo just in case an election official asks.
- Bring your list of candidates; since this will the first time everybody will be voting this way, it will be easier if you have this list on hand so you will not hold up the line for other voters.
- You only have one chance to have your ballot changed if you don’t like it, that’s when they first hand it to you. Inspect it right away. If you see folds, scratches or marks, you can ask for another one.
- The ballot is very sensitive to marks, ink, water, stains, scratches, folds, sweat, etc. If you have grime on your hands, or your fingers are wet, or your sweat drops onto the ballot, the PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machine will not read it. Keep your hands very clean before voting. That is why indelible ink will be applied on your finger after you have voted, and not before. This is why you will be given your ballot in a very expensive folder—to lessen the actual handling of the ballot with your hands.
- Shade FULLY the egg-shaped hole beside your chosen candidate. You will be provided with a marker. Do NOT check, line, X, dot, or half-shade the oval, because the PCOS machine will not read wrong shading. Try not to write beyond the oval.
- There will be a barcode on the ballot. If this is marked in any way or scratched, the ballot will be spoiled. If anyone else handles your ballot, watch them well, in case they scratch the barcode to spoil your ballot.
- You will have four tries to put your ballot through the PCOS machine. You can insert it whichever way you want but only four tries. If after the fourth it doesn’t read properly, your ballot is spoiled.
- Mark no more than the exact number of choices. Note that you can undervote – vote less than needed, but not overvote – vote more than needed. The limit will be indicated on your ballot ( “Vote for not more than __”). If you vote more than the specified number, that portion of the ballot is invalidated.
- Watch the readout on the PCOS unit when you insert your ballot. If successful, it will read, “Congratulations! Your ballot has been scanned.” If not, it will say why (i.e. “improper shading,” etc.). Make sure you read “Congratulations” before exiting to make sure your vote is counted. Watch the screen for important messages.
Still not sure about how to go about things? Watch the informational video below, which will give you a run-through of the upcoming elections. Or visit the links below.