Election Day (2010)

This was my second time to vote for this country’s president. In 2004, I placed my bet on GMA because she was cute.

I was watching TV before the election day. Not excited to vote at all. Why would I be? At first I was caught between Noy!Noy! and Gibo then between Gibo and Gordon; never saw a single Ja-Ja-Ja-Jamby commercial (thanks, god) but saw a Jinggoy commercial (heads horribly morphing into other heads) in the bus. Only the last minute before I slept did I think of checking my assigned precinct. COMELEC’s Online Precinct Finder was down so I used Google Precinct Finder. I was assigned to the same precinct as before — Ladislao Diwa Elementary School.

Ladislao Diwa Elementary School
Ladislao Diwa Elementary School has some fine greeneries and old-style classrooms.

The rooms were segregated by barangay. The line towards our room was fairly normal even if we already got there at around 8 A.M. The heat was scorching, as usual, so the line created a gap — other people chose to stay in the shade rather than get roasted alive. There was an instance where an adult couple or magulang pretended to be looking for their names on the list tacked to the door — they stayed on the line as if they were ahead of a dozen fall-in-liners. The style.

Waiting in Line
Under the heat, voters waited for their turn to vote; others checked to see if they were registered.
Reading While Waiting
A near-senior citizen man amused himself by reading a tabloid. (bottom) An article read, “Palace Has Plea.

I and my parents were behind the man reading a tabloid; he was approached by his companion and joked that he might as well go ahead and vote since he was already a senior citizen. The old man silently laughed as he was short of several years to senior citizenship.

The line wasn’t moving for fifteen minutes. People were already doing all sorts of things — hands in their pockets; fingers in their booger holes; imaginary drawings by their tiptoes; I, on the other hand, strolled around with my camera hanging by my shoulder. I peeked through the wooden jalousies of a classroom to see the voters keenly choosing which candidates to vote or maybe they were just keenly shading those tiny circles.

Outside Looking In
Outside Looking In” width=”660″ height=”506″>
(Top left) Voters who already cast their votes gathered outside for some chit-chat. (Right) The young woman was one of the first people to vote.

Cavite City Voters

Cavite City belongs to Region IV-A which is also known as CALABARZON (provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon). There are close to 64,000 registered voters in Cavite City according to Google Precinct Finder. Two of them were not on the list; we bumped into my uncle and his wife who were walking out of the precinct looking disappointed. They were upset that their names were not on the list even if they voted in 2004 National Election. There might have been mix-ups of voters and their assigned precincts.

Casting Their Votes
Casting Their Votes

This was the first automated election in the country. Before, you had to cast your vote by writing the name of your chosen candidate and drop the ballot into the golden yellow ballot box. Now, all the names of the candidates were printed out — you just had to shade the circle beside the candicate of your choice. Some people might put a check on the circle and some might jot a dot so the government and several news networks launched campaigns to educate the public on the correct way of casting votes.

The Correct Way of Shading
An advert informed the public on how to correctly shade the egg-shaped circle.

It was a good thing for the senior citizens to have fast lanes. Most of them who voted were accompanied by adults or children — anyone who could assist them in walking through crowds to reading the names of candidates.

Looking for His Name
A senior citizen sought for his name on the list with the help of his companion.
Voter's Assistant
The elderly employed the help of her grandchild in reading the list of candidates.
Senior Citizen Express Lane
(Left) The former barangay captain of Barangay 35 arrived in her wheelchair to cast her vote. (Top right) BEI chairperson, Arlene Carpio, examined a document. (Bottom right) My mother fed the ballot into the self-aware Smartmatic PCOS machine.
Incredible Ink
The official ballot looked like the sample ballot that was distributed weeks prior to the election day. Below, an indelible ink was applied to the right forefinger to mark the person as “voted”.

It was my turn after an hour and a half. The ballot was a long paper which awkwardly drooped to my lap as I awkwardly sat in a little kid’s classroom chair. Up to this point, I was pointing my marker to Gibo and Gordon, to and fro. As I shaded my choice, I noticed how easy it was to fill the circle with ink. The Smartmatic marker had a jagged-tip; with just three short strokes, there was no turning back.

I repeatedly counted if I already had twelve senators in my lineup; having more than twelve would invalidate my other votes in that category. For the local candidates, I was only here in Cavite City during weekends; I missed all the fuss of candidates campaigning, riding their vehicles and waving while their jingly-jangly campaign jingles were playing in the foreground — I mostly guessed my bets for city councilors.

Almost Two Hours
Kids played ball as they waited for their parents to finish voting. (Bottom left) The bulk of trash came from print materials of candidates.

We were done voting in two hours. The area near the exit was peppered with flyers. Voters done with their businesses were still hanging out — maybe excited and waiting for the results. As I walked out, I left the immediate memory of the election and hoped that tomorrow would be a new day.


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