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The Automated Election Experience

May 10, 2010, the first Philippine automated election was held. Malfunction of the counting machines to be used for automation is expected. But as the polling started nationwide, this problem had a twin: clustering of the precincts. It’s like the shadow of the automation flaw that was unnoticed since we focused much on the performance of the machines. Because of the limited number of the PCOS [what the machines are called], every five precincts were consolidated to one classroom. As a result, the verification of the voters slowed down because only one election officer manages the five precincts. It even made some of the voters to just go home because they feel like they are waiting forever. By afternoon, I’ve heard that the queue of the precinct where I will be voting is still long. Meanwhile, news reports said that the voting is extended until 7pm. So I decided to go to the polling place by 6 o’clock. It’s not that I’m being “last to the minute” even though I have to admit that I’m not an early person but I just want to get rid of the hassles of falling in to a looong line and waiting for looong hours. I’ve been itching to vote I have to be practical. Besides, news reports are there to warn you so make use of it. I am positive that I can vote even if the queue is still long when I arrive by 6. Fortunately, the only persons that were on the school grounds were poll watchers, barangay officials, and some bystanders perhaps. I know what precinct I’m in and was confident that I am a registered voter so I didn’t need to find my name on the list. The verification from the BEI [or the election officers] is enough. When I entered the classroom, I am the only voter there. It feels like I got a VIP treatment. The only problem I had while filling-up the ballot was my shading slightly penetrated the other side that may hamper the scanning of my votes. Most of the voters I saw on TV were crossing their fingers while inserting their ballot and I had the same feeling. The infamous “Congratulations” message took a long time before flashing on the display. I was voter #591 on my precinct and I saw how it changed from 590 which means it was successful! For sure, I didn’t overvote since I only had 6 senators and 2 councilors. Reaching the polling place [the school is just in front of our village] and the voting process was quick, quicker than the time I spent taking a bath! Of all the irregularities being reported on TV, I didn’t experience any of it. I just hope that my votes are really counted both on the local and national level. God bless Rosario, God bless Batangas, and God bless the Philippines!

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