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Halalan 2010 – First Automated National Elections in the Philippines

I just finished voting in the Halalan 2010 – the First Automated National Elections in the Philippines.  It was an exciting experience for me as a Filipino, although as a programmer and a techie guy, I do have some apprehensions.

My Halalan 2010 Experience – May 10, 2010

Here’s the timeline for My Halalan 2010 Experience, the closest approximation of my time spent while voting:

Time Activity
7:15am Anticipating traffic with other voters, we (mother and sister) went early.
7:20am – 7:30am Looked for our assigned Precinct and verified our number in the list of voters.
7:30am – 7:40am Finished arguing with the person assigned in giving out numbers and finally got our color-coded number.
7:40am – 8:00am Waiting and Queue area.  Had to wait for our color to be called.
8:00am – 8:32am People are now flocking up.  Took some pictures to spend away time.
8:33am – 8:46am Voted for Halalan 2010 – First Automated National Elections in the Philippines
8:47am Home!
TOTAL Time Spent 1 hour and 32 minutes (1:32) Beat that! hehe

Halalan 2010 Highlights

  1. Color Coding Queue System

    As we arrived, the assigned person giving the numbers (let’s call him Mr. Number-Giver), is sitting down giving out color-coded numbers to people. No queue, no announcement on where to go, I had to ask a few of my ka-barangays from whom they got their numbers.

    When I asked for a number, Mr. Number-Giver said “mamaya na, tapusin muna natin ang first batch“. (I knew later that there were 7 colors, with 15 numbers each, so 75 persons per batch.)

    I looked around and noticed that people are now flocking to Mr. Number-Giver and I don’t have all day to join in the hoard, so I asked him:

    Me: In an hour or so, there will be more voters who will ask for numbers. How would you know if we arrived earlier than them? (I was trying to influence him to put us on queue).
    Mr. Number-Giver: Ah, I am familiar with your faces, I will know.
    Me: That’s not good, make a system. Put us on queue then give us the numbers.
    Mr. Number-Giver: I am just following orders from our chairman inside, just wait until the first batch is done.
    Me: That’s not fair, let’s make a queue then you can follow the orders. Make a system or else we will be in chaos.
    … blah… blah… blah…

    In short, I got what I wanted. The other voters who heard made a queue then Mr. Number-Giver was forced to hand-out the numbers for the next batch.

    My mother is a senior citizen, my sister is 8-month pregnant. Imagine my gripe when we need to hoard for a number when in fact we arrived early?

    Highlight questions:

    • Why would you put a batch of voters (15 voters x 7 colors) when a queue with numbers would have sufficed? Ever heard of First-Come-First-Serve? No need for the damned colors!
    • Prioritize senior citizens and pregnant voters. (which they did after one lola asked instead of going on queue)
    • I don’t understand the batching. Why put voters in a batch? When there is already an available seat, let the next voter in. Saves time.
  2. Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine

    The PCOS machine was designed to read your ballot. Being a voter, I want it not only to read my ballot but DISPLAY MY CHOICES on the SCREEN. Being a programmer, I know that is NOT a HARD Thing TO DO.

    You would ask what about secrecy of my vote? It would be displayed for others to see. I don’t care! Show me my votes as read and verified by the PCOS machine, then I will be a really impressed and satisfied voter. I would feed my ballot to the PCOS machine anyway.

    How assured am I as the voter that it was indeed my choice that the PCOS machine has read?  hahaha

    Way ahead of me, there was a ballot that cannot be read by the PCOS machine although when double-checked by the BEI and the voter himself, all choices were valid.  So to really test the machine, I over-shaded my choice of my President beyond the oval lines. I also over-shaded a few other candidates.

    I personally feed my ballot, anticipating that it will be spit out. Surprise! It was verified and registered! bwahahaha

    Disclaimer: I am not trying to waste my vote here, I am a voter who is concerned of the integrity of the PCOS machine. If the voter way ahead of me had a ballot which when checked was okay, surely my ballot should NOT be okay because I overshaded a few choices, right? Think about it. (Maybe the ballot format of the voter was different than mine? Then we definitely should be concerned!)

    Highlight questions:

    • Again, How assured am I as the voter that it was indeed my choice that the PCOS machine has read?
    • For example, my ballot was not accepted by the PCOS machine, and when verified by BEI all is okay (shade and number of choices), do I get another ballot where I could cast the same choices?
  3. Halalan 2010 Pictures

    Here are some pictures I took with my cellphone (not high-res but good enough hehe) while waiting on queue for the First Automated National Elections in the Philippines. Taken at Dilangalen National High School, Poblacion 1, Midsayap, Cotabato, Philippines. :)

    I tried taking some pictures of my ballot inside the voting area but I was prohibited by a member of the BEI… oh well. :)

Moral of the story? Nothing beats being an early bird. I expect the queue to be a lot longer now, 3 hours after we voted.

It’s already noon-time but weather is good for the Halalan 2010 here in Midsayap, dark clouds but no rain… yet. :) Update as of 2010-05-10 12:45pm – started raining na hehe

Surprisingly, there was no blackout… yet hehe. I’ve been keeping tabs of the semi-random daily blackouts here in Midsayap since March 2010 where it usually happens three times daily from Monday to Friday and randomly during weekends. No more blackouts, please. Update as of 2010-05-10 4:10pm – sufferred first blackout of the day from 2:55pm to 4:06pm… waah!

I hope the next Automated Elections here in the Philippines should be more organized and could satisfy my tech apprehensions. hehe

To my fellow Filipinos, how was your Halalan 2010 experience? Have you voted yet? :)

Author: Cyril Pauya Categories: Politics Tags: , ,
  1. idarine
    May 10th, 2010 at 13:07 | #1

    the crowd was thick..early bird really catches worms sir..anyways.the PCOS machine do have some bugs..in accordance to what you have said about the ballot of a person ahead of you..hahah..what do you think sir?in that case..cheating maybe possible..me bugs eh..hahahaha..i didnt vote.,.im not yet registered..waa..:-D

  2. May 10th, 2010 at 13:18 | #2

    Hahaha yes, I know the PCOS machine has a certain margin of error. But from my experience, the errors may be random. hahaha

  3. idarine
    May 10th, 2010 at 14:28 | #3

    so goodluck to all voters..hahahaha..

  4. May 10th, 2010 at 19:30 | #4

    Agree with you sir. It should really display our votes to confirm if it really reads what we have voted. I’m afraid it will repeat what happen to mock election. It was 5 votes to villar, 5 votes to noynoy but when it was counted by the machine, the result was 10 to gibo hahaha..wag naman sana

  5. May 10th, 2010 at 20:18 | #5

    @ianemv
    Hahaha I hope not because by then my 1:32 time spent would be wasted. hehehe

  6. May 10th, 2010 at 22:52 | #6

    @Cyril Pauya Me either, I spent P10.00 for my fare back and forth, P59.00 for the food I ate after I vote because i went out at lunch time and finish around 2PM.

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