Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My general observations this 2010 elections

Yesterday's elections ended peacefully (as always) in our barangay but with some major points that need to be refined. Unlike the previous elections, this one made me wait around an hour before finally casting my vote. I'm sure all of us might have experienced the same thing.

Frankly, I would not want to blame the automated PCOS machines for the delay. In fact, the queue to the machines were very short. Plus, it only took a few seconds for the machine to scan the ballot. What then caused the long lines?

I think, what really caused the delay was the clustering system done by the COMELEC. Clustering was done to consolidate or merge some precincts to accommodate the fewer number of machines. Although it is understandable that we really had a shortage of machines to accommodate every precinct, still, this system gave most of the voters a hard time because they had to find out which cluster they belong to before lining up. And to make things worse, the voting area only allowed a certain number of people per cluster, which caused the long lines. Funny, but some clusters had longer lines than others. Although I waited for an hour, thank heavens, my queue was shorter.

Unfortunately, there were some people who were turned off by the long lines and went home, forfeiting their vote. Still most of us were patient enough to cast ours.

In order to counter this, hopefully next elections, we should have more machines that can handle the queue. And if there will still be few machines available in the future, COMELEC should provide more marking pens and tables for the voters so that we will not wait for hours and hours doing nothing. Take note, the machines only take a few seconds to scan our ballot, hence the short queue on the machines.

Another observation... I'm not sure if my ballot was read correctly. Although the machine accepted my ballot, there was no readout, display, printout, or whatsoever to show if the machine actually made the proper scan of my ballot. I wondered about this because when I fed my ballot for scanning the first time, it was rejected. Only after the 2nd scan was my ballot accepted into the machine. Hopefully, the machine read my answers right.

With regards to the ballot, I'm sure there are some who might have observed this, but the pen markings can stain through the other side of the ballot. The ballot itself is printed back-to-back, so if you tend to mark your ballot heavily (like me), chances are those marks can be seen on the 2nd page. This might be cause for the PCOS machines not to read our ballot properly. If I may suggest, the next time we have elections, COMELEC, please do not have our ballot printed back-to-back anymore. Or if COMELEC insists on back-to-back printing, maybe they should make sure our markings will not stain through the back side by changing the material of the ballot.

As for the peace and order of the elections, there were a lot of volunteers and teachers that assisted which made yesterday's voting pretty smooth. I'm not sure if the other precincts holding their elections were that lucky.

As of writing, the count seems pretty fast granted that results are automatically generated. I am personally glad that today's election results are speedy, unlike the 2004 elections where it took almost two months to proclaim the winners. Hopefully the winners of the elections will be announced soon so that cheating candidates will not have enough time to conjure their 'magic' tricks on the outcome.

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