I have voted today in the first automated elections in the Philippines. It’s easy, fast, and convenient.
The only glitch is that too many people are lining up since before the opening time at 7:00 a.m. There are two reasons I could think of aside from technical problems with the PCOS machine. One is that, like me, people are excited to vote because this is the first automated elections. Like me, people want to see and touch the new ballot and the PCOS machine which made headlines not only in the country but also abroad. We want to see that our balllots are not rejected and will display CONGRATULATIONS! And being the first to vote would mean a lot of talking with friends who have not casted their votes yet. So, many people went to the precincts early, hence the crowd has accumulated early.
Second and the most important is the clustering of 4 or 5 precincts into 1 precinct only. This means that 1 precinct with this year’s election equals 4 or 5 precincts with the previous elections hence an accumulation of 800 to 1,000 voters in 1 precinct only. Previously, 1 precinct equals 1 chairman to handle the verification of voters. This would mean that 4-5 precincts equals 4-5 chairmen. But now with the clustered precinct of 4-5 precincts, only 1 chairman is assigned to verify the 800 to 1,000 voters. I presumed that there are 4-5 chairmen in each clustered precincts which would help ease the crowd.
With the current setup, the PCOS machine is not utilized to its near maximum potential. I hope that the COMELEC will improve the system next election.
Nevertheless, with all these glitches, I’m still thankful that the Filipino is still living in free Philippines. Election = freedom!