Monday, May 10, 2010

What I did on Election Day 2010

And there is the indelible ink on my right pointer finger. I voted in this year's elections.

May 10, 2010: The Philippines holds its very first automated elections. Positions at both the national and local levels are up for grabs. This entire election thing has dominated all topics of national discourse for at least a year. And that's not even mentioning the usual shenanigan-riddled time and general idiocy that was the campaign period.

So, of course, on D-Day, everyone is busily hoping the country doesn't collapse under the weight of its fears, ignorance, and general lack of sense.

Was out the door around 7am. Since I failed to transfer my voter's registration from the Fourth District of QC [where I used to live] to the Second [where I now live] I had to cross the city in order to vote.

My partner had it worse; he had to cross provincial boundary lines and vote all the way over in Bulacan, which is NOT part of the National Capital Region. The trip takes less than an hour, though, so transportation is not really a problem.

I packed as though for an expedition: I brought drinks and a book so I would neither dehydrate nor get bored. Arrived at the high school where my precinct is located after an hour's commute; cracked open the second drink and the book at around the same time.

[As an aside, I was the only one within sight to have thought of bringing some means of killing time. Sure, people were texting or whatever on their phones, but it sure felt weird to be the only one there reading a book. How much more unusual I would have appeared if I'd brought Hamster, or if I'd had an e-reader instead.]

An hour and a half or so later, I'm on page 101 of my book, and on the threshold of the classroom where I'm to vote. So I shut the book and went to check my name on the voters' list - I was still there. After another half-hour, I face the Board of Election Inspectors, pass their scrutiny, and receive a ballot, a ballot secrecy folder, and a marking pen.

It only takes about ten minutes to vote; I got paranoid, I read everything first before shading ovals. It takes two tries before my ballot is accepted by the PCOS machine. I cast vote number 156 in that precinct.

And then I'm done, at about a quarter to 11 in the morning. Four hours to vote, and most of that eaten up by both travel time and waiting in line. Oh well.


Now comes the hard part: waiting on the results. The polls are supposed to close at 6pm and then the machines must do the work that they were built for, which is to tally up all the votes. I predict the country holding its breath until some results come out - and then of course I haven't yet mentioned the usual bugbears of Philippine elections: cheating and a million and one ways of saying "I wuz robbed!"

Will update this post later, after 6pm.


UPDATE THE FIRST: More photos.

Me on the left, my partner on the right. After casting our votes we met up for a big lunch, with the crab in the picture being among the courses.

And now you know what we wore to the polls. Hey, even stormtroopers have to vote.

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