Well, yesterday, I suggested to my mom that we go to the voting precinct as early as 6:30AM to avoid the over-flux of voters later in the day. Instead, she suggested that we go in the afternoon at about after lunch because most people in our community are early birds also. She added that they will definitely want to be at the precinct earlier so they could tend to their work immediately after casting their votes.
I had intended to see Iron Man 2 in the afternoon after voting in the early morning, but resolved that it could be rescheduled. Still, I thought that going in the afternoon was not a good idea.
Skeptical, I agreed.
So early this morning, I lazed around the house, watched the election coverage over television, and went over my list of choices for the different government positions. I actually did some last-minute research to find out who else are worthy enough to be elected (as I had under-votes in some local government position sets).
After lunch, we then proceeded to our precinct. We arrived a little before 1:00PM. Once there, I saw that our community’s five precincts were all clustered into one polling room. And there was one PCOS machine. Great! How very inconvenient! I guess that’s how it goes for a small community of about 1,000 or less voters. The first line inside was for verification and receiving of ballots. After verifying my precinct and cluster numbers, I had to wait awhile for an available ballot secrecy folder. That’s probably the reason for the clustered precinct: Limited resources. Alas, a folder was available so I got a marking pen and my ballot. My ballot was not passed under a UV light verification system (as reported on television) in my presence; maybe they’ve already verified all the ballots earlier—I don’t know if that’s an accepted procedure or what. Anyway, I proceeded to shade all the “bilog na hugis itlog.”
The armchairs reserved for shading were not well situated: They were close to the lines that almost extended all throughout the room. Actually, the whole setup inside the polling room was not well thought out. People in line could actually look over your shoulder and see the candidates that you were voting for. Because the ballot was very long, the secrecy folder was useless. And to consider that millions were spent for their manufacture. Well, in my experience, it doesn’t matter if your choices are revealed because even so, people will respect your choices. The folders were just to ensure systematization and to represent “voting without coercion.”
The marking pen wasn’t what I expected. Some ink got out of the elliptical border. For someone who was trained to shade and “stay within the lines,” it got me uneasy. But then I saw the example on the ballot where it did go out of the lines a bit. Halfway through my shading, I looked in horror how the ink from one side of the ballot “came through” the material and made soft blot marks on the other side. (If you didn’t know, the ballot was two-sided.) So I said, “What the heck if this’ll be an error! If my votes wouldn’t be counted, so be it!” But I noticed that the blot marks were away from the shading circles and remembered that optical checking machines only go over these areas—not the entire face of the sheet—so the blot marks wouldn’t be detected anyway.
I was surprised to be finished in under two minutes!
I got on another line to feed my ballot to the PCOS machine. At first, it didn’t slide in (wrong orientation); at the second try, I got a congratulatory message. The one watching over the PCOS machine said that you could “slide in” the ballot at any “position.” For some reason, the guys stifled laughs and smiles.
Finally, I got on another line for the dreaded indelible ink, signature, and thumb mark.
My mom and I were finished in under 30 minutes. However, we got home an hour and 30 minutes later. Apparently, my mom threw herself in some “tsimisan.”