Saturday, October 24, 2009

Practial Voter's Guide (Oct 25 09)

Practical Voters' Guide to Election 2010

1. Verify your voter registration status at the COMELEC office in the town/city where you reside. And you should do this before the deadline on October 31, 2009.

a. If you are already registered and you voted in the last 2007(?) national elections then you are probably still in the voters' list. But even then, you should check that your name has not been accidentally removed. You can also check your new precinct number assignment. You can get your new precinct number, even if the actual address of that precinct number is still unknown.

b. If you are already registered, but did not vote in the two most recent national elections (2004 and 2007), then you are probably not in the voters' list anymore. You should go to the COMELEC office of the town/city where you currently reside and re-register there. Bring two picture IDs issued by the government (SSS ID, GSIS ID, Taxpayer ID, passport, etc) or issued by your employer or school, a proof of date of birth (birth certificate), and a proof of address (a recent Meralco bill, or mobile phone bill).

c. If you are a new voter who has never registered before, then you must register for the first time. Proceed as in step (b) above.

2. One day before election day, go to the school where your precinct is located. Remember that one aggregated precinct has anywhere from 400-1000 voters with an average of 600 voters. The voters' lists will be posted outside the door of the precinct (classroom). Looking for your name in the list, even if you know your precinct number, might take a while, so you should do this before actual election day. If you do not find your name in the voters' list in all the precincts of the polling center (school), you should call the COMELEC emergency number (please paste telephone number here).

3. On actual election day, go to your assigned precinct early. Do not wait for the last hour (5:00 pm - 6:00 pm), because if you do, you probably will miss your chance to vote. Sayang naman ang boto niyo. Bring with you the following:

a. Your voter's ID or if you do not yet have an ID, your copy of your voter's registration form.

b. A felt-tip pen (medium point). Any brand will do. Do not bring ball pen or pencil. The precinct will have a supply of 50 felt-tip pens to be shared by 400-1000 voters. After voting, you might want to donate your felt-tip pen to the precinct, because the 50 might not be enough.

c. A white corrector tape (dry version). The COMELEC and Smartmatic do not want the voter to make changes in their ballot using white corrector tape (dry version), because the correction might still be fresh and sticky when you feed your ballot into the PCOS machine, causing paper jam, and preventing subsequent voters from casting their votes. If you bring a dry corrector tape, you will have to make corrections at your own risk.

4. How to vote:

a. Proceed to the table where the BEI (Board of Election Inspectors) are seated, show them your voter's ID or voter's copy of the registration form.

b. The BEI will check if your name is on their list, and if so, will give you your official ballot. The ballot will be 20 inches to less than 30 inches long, so you must handle the ballot carefully to prevent accidental tearing. They will also give you a felt-tip pen which you will use for filling out your ballot.

c. Upon receiving your ballot and pen, go to one of the secrecy booths (actually this will be a student chair with a little desk for writing, which will be provided with a 8.5 inch x 13 inch folder for "cover", so that the next voter can not see your choices).

d. To vote for a candidate, shade the oval next to the candidate's name with the felt-tip pen. Make sure that the oval is completely shaded with no white left, and that the shading does not go out of the oval. Do not over-vote, that is, vote for only one president, one vice-president, twelve senators, etc.

e. Before going to the PCOS computer to cast your vote, review your work to make sure that ovals are completely shaded with no shading outside the oval. Also make sure there are no accidental stray marks on the bar code area of the ballot or anywhere else, as these stray marks could invalidate your ballot. If you find that you overvoted for a given position (say you selected more than 12 senators), and if you decide to use your dry corrector tape to cover your extra choice, remember that you will do this at your own risk.

f. After reviewing your ballot, and if you are already satisfied with your choices, go the PCOS computer to cast your vote. There might be a queue, so you have to take your proper place in the queue. Filipinos know how to respect the rights of others, so let us not jump queue. There is no special queue for senior citizens, so they just have to queue up like all the others.

g. When it is your turn to feed your ballot into the PCOS machine, remember that there is a proper orientation for feeding the ballot. The ballot has two edges, the 8.5 inch short edge, and the 20-30 inch long edge. You must insert the 8.5 inch short edge first. It does not matter which of the two short edges (top or bottom) is inserted first, and it does not matter which face is up (the face containing the national candidates or the face containing the local candidates). The PCOS computer can read any orientation as long as the 8.5 inch top or bottom is inserted first.

h. The PCOS machine will finish reading and interpreting your ballot in about 30 seconds. Do not leave yet, wait until the little LCD display to the right of the PCOS computer says that your ballot has been successfully read. If he PCOS computer does not show you on the LCD display a list of candidates that you actually voted for, go to the BEI and register your complaint in writing. Beforehand, you might want to prepare the following statement and sign it, and have the BEI sign that he/she received your complaint:

I would like to formally register my complaint with COMELEC, through its BEI staff of precinct no. ______, municipality of _________, that the PCOS computer did not show me on the LCD screen, or in printed form, or in any other manner, the actual list of candidates that I voted for in my ballot, as required by RA-9369 Section 7 (Section 6 Minimum System Capabilities) Item (n), that states:

Provide the voter a system of verification to find out whether or not the machine has registered his choice;

Voter's Name _______________________ Voter's ID No. __________

Complaint received by: ________________________________ (BEI)
Date:_______ Time: _______

Make two copies and sign both. One copy goes to COMELEC, and the other will be your receipt.

i. That is all there is to computerized voting. After successfully completing the eight steps (a)-(h), do like my wife says. Pray that the PCOS computer has not been internally rigged to cheat for the favorites or COMELEC and Smartmatic. CenPEG, the NASSA-CBCP, and other cause-oriented groups and NGOs, who have been labeled as fear-mongerers, do not have the tools to do external hacking via the network. If the PCOS and REIS computers have been internally rigged or externally hacked, it will be because of people "inside", not people "outside".

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