Living and the elections

 Eight Days Away from Philippines 2010 Elections: Voting  Do's and Dont's

Yes its just a week away from the 2010 Philippine Presidential Elections. Surrounding this critical  political exercise, worries  remain in the hearts and minds of the voting public. There's a lot of talk  about worst case election scenarios. Take the case of NoEl or "no elections".  Some feel that the elections seems to have been designed to fail. And what about the reliability issue of the PCOS machines; the highly sensitive nature of the ballots and other possible mishaps that could happen during election day at the precint level not to mention  digital or manual transport of the precint level results. It appears that some quarters, to this day,  do not trust COMELEC given its track record of booboos like Garci and Co.

We have to remind ourselves that another issue that may have been overlooked even by the candidates themselves is the assurance that votes cast by  their captured voters will be counted. Voters need to be reminded that their  ballots must be dispensed with care;   free from dirt or smudge,  when it is first handed to them.  Things borne out of old  habits can lead to incorrect handling and  filling-up of the ballots.  It has been observed, that during mock election exercises conducted by COMELEC accredited training and education organizations, mostly composed  of professionals,  had tendencies to be confused - there were cases of voters putting checks instead of the required black oval marking. In others, ballots  were folded which is now a no no. Ballots are required to be free of  folds,  tamperings,  creases, etc.

These are just a few experienced from the field. To imagine these happening on election day, leaving many voters "disenfranchised" is mind boggling.

Some reminders that may prove helpful:

1. Make sure you bring a codigo listing the candidates you will cast your vote for.
2. No over voting. Under voting is allowed. This means instead of 12 senators,  you can only choose to vote for 4 or 8. But you definitely can not mark 13 names. Make sure that you are aware of the right number of names for a specific position. Again over voting will  automatically invalidate your ballot.
3. Make sure that you bring a clean, unmarked paper which can be used to protect the process of marking your  ballot. Remember, no smudge, no marks, no creases, no folds.
4. Bring your hankies to prevent perspiration from affecting  the  ballot. The Picos machine might  reject a "moisturized"  ballot.
5. Make sure that your ballot has been handed to election officials in charge before the indelible ink marking. Also return the ballot marker or instrument. That can not be brought home.
6. Make sure to check the COMELEC online listing of your cluster areas before election day if it is at all possible,  to avoid unnecessary hassles.

I may have left out other useful reminders, so feel free to share yours.