eureka and WTF moments of halalan 2013

the WTF moments

1. hearing that a PCOS machine had broken down in a neighboring precinct (hence the line holdup) — and reading later that 200+ of 78,000 PCOS machines were expected to break down (had broken down?), which is “minor” compared to the 400 of 76,000 back in 2010. not exactly great odds.

2. the ballots being switched up in baguio and compostela valley precincts, and hearing chairman brillantes say that he’s not willing to spend an extra P5 million for the 1,434 (as of last count) disenfranchised, as their votes wouldn’t “affect” the elections.

(MBulletin quotes SB: “All votes are important but we will not spend money to conduct special polls in precincts if it wont affect results.”)

ouch.

the higher principle here is that people get to vote, rather than we save money from a screw-up that shouldn’t have happened in the first place. it’s kinda adding insult to injury to be told (in lieu of a “sorry we fucked up”) that your vote doesn’t compute. that your choices don’t (really) matter. ouch.

the EUREKAs

1. don’t underestimate the power of a sign (and advance notice).

how do we keep the voting process orderly, rather than making it seem like a gauntlet or boot camp?

i dunno about you, but in my voting station, as soon as we entered the gate, we moved from an orderly line into UTTER CHAOS.

people were told to FIGURE OUT WHAT THEIR CLUSTER WAS (either by SCRAMBLING to look at STAPLED SHEETS of voters’ lists STRUNG ON A LINE WITHIN A CIRCLE or by pestering the poll-watchers tapping on their laptops and giving out itty-bitty slips of paper).

(why not actually disseminate the clustering info just as comelec did the precinct info, beforehand? that handy dandy halalan app didn’t have it. comelec precinct finder didn’t have it. wasted opportunity.)

and after such chaos, people were told to move towards holding station #2… where a large readable sign actually showed the clustering anyway. whacked. THAT SIGN should’ve been at the front. never mind stapled sheets and slips of paper. have a BIG WONDERFUL SIGN RIGHT AT THE ENTRANCE, PROCLAIMING ‘YOU BELONG HERE, COME HERE’!

also:

why have someone screaming out (this way please!) when you could have a sign pointing the way? i didn’t quite get that. same with someone screaming out: seniors! pregnant women! PWDs! if these folks knew wheredaheck they’re supposed to line up in the first place (oh look, it’s a SIGN!), you don’t need a barker.

2. strategic placement of personnel can go a long way.

no one was minding the line at the back of each cluster, checking whether a particular cluster was overflowing. someone down front was barking out “cluster no. ###! sampuan!” (i.e. pasok!) but the logical thing would have been to have minders at the back as well to inform front-man what was going on at the back — doubled lines and folks without space to breathe in, that’s what.

funny thing was, three people were appointed to (1) check the voter’s ID and his place on the list, (2) give out the ballot, and (3) point out the obvious: (sir/ma’am, please move a step to the right to have that person ID you, and now you may move a step to the left to have the-other-person-sitting-next-to-ID-er to give you your ballot). person#3 was frickin superfluous. (come to think of it, so was person #1, since the clusterfuck in holding rooms #1-#2 already garnered me the info that i was voter #153 of cluster #252 of precinct 0873A.)

3. plan for the eventuality of rain.

if it looks like it’s going to rain, don’t wait for the sky to fall. you can predict what’s going to happen: people will look for shelter. get them moving already. don’t wait for the stampede to happen. don’t wait for those painstaking lines — crafted over two to three hours — to break up. then have to redo them amidst a lot of arguing.

4. be prepared for folks to cluster around the single tent you provide.

be also prepared for the funny sight of said tent carried along with a possessive group of people as they advance. i kid you not.

5. bring a baby (or don’t bring a baby)

pregnant women, of course, got to jump the line. don’t really resent that. can’t blame a girl with a plus1 for wanting to vote, right?

however, the joke at our precinct (apart from stuffing a pillow under one’s shirt), was that we should’ve brought a baby with us, or put up a baby rental, because those with kids in tow (let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that there was no one to take care of the kiddies so they had to bring them ALL along with them) got to vote first.

infants. they’re handy. never mind that one would subject them to the torturous hours in uncertain weather and high tempers and suffocating crowds. they’re a full-proof pass. note for future reference 😛

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4 comments

  1. Cherry · · Reply

    We got data re precinct & cluster numbers a few days before (good job, local Comelec peeps), so we only had to ask volunteers where the assigned room was. And I went in the afternoon, no queues. Done in less than 10 mins! Mas matagal pa akong naghintay sa halo-halo! Haha. Shame on you Chairman Brillantes!

  2. good job bataan! u olredi!

  3. Hmmm. Our precinct clusters had signs, but they were rather small for my bad eyesight. Still, there were nice volunteers stationed around who pointed people to the right rooms. We had one person checking your name on the list, one checking the old voters list with your photo, one handing the ballot and pen, and one helping insert the ballot. 20 minutes in line, 5 to vote. Done. It helped, I suppose, that I was there at 7:15 a.m. The crowd was rather light.
    By the way, out classroom had a cat who would sit or lie on the grade school desks and just move calmly to another when someone would claim the desk to vote. Totally relaxed and not in the least bit bothered by the crowd. : )

    1. i like the idea of the cat 🙂

      we had nice volunteers. my aunt was one of them. we also had patronizing volunteers (one spoke to a voter in a really condescending tone, gosh).

      i get that it’s hard to herd people. just saying it could be better done. i went before 8am. woke up at a little past 7am, walked there. got out 11:39am.

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