Voting In An Automated Election

I have a draft of a blog about committing to the formation of a cooperative lined up for posting today but I decided to postpone it in favor of describing my personal experience in voting in the first ever automated election in the Philippines early today. As a soon-to-be senior citizen, I know the importance of this exercise with regards to the future of our not-so-young children and our soon-to-come grandchildren. In this May 10, 2010 election we will vote for our fifteenth (15th) President who will lead the country in the next six (6) years. Like some countries in the world, we had our economic ups and downs (mostly downs) and choosing the right man or woman who could get us out of this vicious cycle is what we aim to accomplish today.

The national election that we are having today is not easy on the budget of a struggling economy that the Philippines has at present. Holding an automated election at a cost of about eight billion (PhP8,000,000,000.00) pesos for around fifty million (50,000,000) registered voters entails an impoverished Philippines the amount of one-hundred sixty (P160.00) per vote to be cast.  The figures are way off the two billion (PhP2,000,000.000.00) that our Commission on Elections (COMELEC) spent in our past manual national election. In view of this, so much is at stake on this first automated election and everyone is hoping for its successful conduct.

Automated that it is, the voting exercise itself is not fast. Known to be very passionate as far as participating in an election is concerned, the Filipino voters including me lined up as early as before seven o’clock (7:00 AM) in the morning. The change in the voting process necessitates moves like clustering or combining precincts where from the previous 250 voters, the number per polling precinct increased to as many as 1,000 voters. This caused the queuing time to get inside the precinct to vote to take as much as two (2) to three (3) hours. However, the actual voting process took me around five (5) minutes only from getting the ballot, marking it with my votes and feeding it to the counting machine.

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