So I voted yesterday. The process was a bit faster than I expected, but the lack of a well-organized system would have been maddening had I not known my precinct before hand. Here’s how voting in the Philippines works…
1. Go to the voting center, usually a school. This entails fighting your way through a horde of kids and workers paid to distribute sample ballots outside — and sometimes even inside — the voting center.
2. Inside, go to the Voter Assistance Desk and find your name in the printed Voter’s List. This is quite possibly the most tedious part of the process, because the list is divided into several small alphabetical sublists by precinct, and you have to go pore over the pages for EACH precinct looking for your name. My district probably had about twenty precincts, divided not by location or by date of registration, but by pure arbitrariness. Fortunately, Mom had found my name already, and texted me in advance to let me know what my precinct was.
3. Go to the desk for your precinct and leave your signature and right thumbmark on the registration form. Then get your ballot.
4. Bring the ballot to the voting “booth.” Actually, it’s just a schooldesk with a folder propped up for “privacy.” Sweep the inch-thick layer of sample ballots and campaign materials off the table and sit down to fill in your ballot. Positions to fill in: Senators, Congressman, Mayor, Vice-Mayor, and Councilors. I voted straight party ticket, PPC for all positions, except Congressman, where I abstained. (Between Ronny Zamora the Crony and Jose Mari Gonzales the Slapper, there isn’t much of a choice, is there?)
5. Drop the ballot in the ballot box and get your finger marked with “indelible” ink. That way, if you try to vote again, they can look at your finger and say you voted already. But the ink is alcohol-soluble.
That’s it. I spent the rest of day at home with the family, watching Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (wow!), playing with the dog, and generally being lazy.