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WHAT EVERY VOTER MUST KNOW
EASY THINGS PEOPLE CAN DO TO MAKE THE ELECTIONS WORK
A lot rests on the coming elections. The Filipino people want a new beginning and we have this golden opportunity through the coming elections. Thus, we so NEED to make the elections work for the country, for us. Various grim and frightening scenarios are being put forward. However, as citizens, we can do a lot to prevent these from happening.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW
1. A new electoral system will be used on May 10 and many are still unfamiliar and may have discomfort with this. We should familiarize ourselves (and those close to us) with automated elections.
2. The heart and soul of the system is the memory card where a lot is stored and will be stored, including the votes we will cast. This has to be protected at all cost.
3. Know your precinct no. BEFORE election day. This is available at the COMELEC website and it only takes 5 minutes to get the information. If you are not in the list and you registered or voted in the last elections, go to your local COMELEC office. They will put you in. Bring IDs and/or proof of registration.
4. The ballot is more than 2 feet long. One side for candidates for national positions, the other, for local posts. To the left of the candidates’ names are the oblong shapes that voters need to shade and the numbers of candidates. It is best to decide before May 10 and make your list with the names and numbers of your chosen candidates.
5. The ballot is sensitive. No additional markings, dirt or smudges should be put.
6. Around the ballot are lines. These are the bar codes that identify the ballots.
7. Precincts are clustered and there will be from 500 to 1,000 voters per precinct. Come prepared and vote as quickly as possible. Taking a long time might result in disenfranchising others who will wait for us to finish before they can vote.
8. There are news of operators planning to bring their voters to the precincts very early to be first and stay for the longest possible time so others are not able to vote. The way to counter this is by voting early.
9. Before any voting starts, the Board of Elections inspectors (BEI) will do the Initialization process to prove that the machine and the memory card do not have stored votes BEFORE the actual voting.
10. After voting, you will feed the ballot into the machine. You have a maximum of 4 tries and if your ballot is rejected, it will be set aside. No additional ballot will be issued to you.
11. If the system runs well, the results of the local elections will be known in a few hours and the national in two (2) days. It will be good to be on guard.
12. At end of voting day, each PCOs machine will print 30 copies of the results. The memory cards (where the results are stored) will then be sealed in an envelope and brought to higher canvassing groups. If, at a later time the results are questioned, the stored data will be considered as the official results, NOT THE PRINTED ONES. Thus, it is VERY important to guard the transfer of the memory cards to their destinations.
EASY THINGS TO DO to protect our votes:
Before May 10,
• Check your precinct no. through the COMELEC website. Visit your precinct a few days before the elections so you won’t waste time looking for it on the day itself.
• Familiarize yourself and others close to you with the ballot which can also be downloaded from the COMELEC site.
• Practice shading preferably with a broad-tipped marking pen (similar to what will be provided on election day.) The oblong shapes to the left of your candidates’ names should be shaded FULLY. The machines will not count votes with less than 50% of the oblong shaded. Teach others to do this.
• Make a list of the candidates (with their corresponding numbers) you will vote for.
• Participate in the testing of the machines.
ON ELECTION DAY,
• Make sure your hands are clean when you vote to prevent smudging of the ballot.
• Bring your list of chosen candidates to polling place & use this when voting.
• Bring IDs and your precinct number.
• Vote early.
• Vote as fast as you can so others will have their turn as soon as possible.
• When you receive your ballot, EXAMINE the bar codes around it. The lines should be sharp and clear. Do not accept a ballot with blurred/faded bar codes. This will not be read by the machine.
• Do not fold, smudge or crumple the ballot.
• Do not put any mark on the oblong beside candidates you are NOT voting for. This might cause rejection of your vote.
• When you vote, shade oblong FULLY.
• You may undervote but DO NOT OVERVOTE. i.e., if you shade more than 12 senatorial candidates, all your votes for the position will not be counted.
• Before feeding your ballot into the machine, take note of the number on the screen. This should be one notch higher after you fed your ballot. i.e., if you see the number 10 before you feed your ballot, 11 should appear after. ‘Congratulations’ should also appear on the screen. These mean that your ballot was read.
• Feed your ballot to the machine yourself. If you make others do this, they might smudge or put markings on your ballot which might cause rejection.
• If you can, guard the memory card as it is transferred from the precinct to the higher canvassing offices. This will happen after voting hours.
Let the others know. If you think this is useful, please pass to as many voters as possible.
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