The floods of left and right election issues have been a prevalent topic in discussions even before the actual day of election. Now that the votes have been casted and things had taken place, the election is still on the verge as the most important matter to talk about.
It was already 8am when I arrived at the precinct, kind of late for me. Being on the line made me uneasy not just because it is tiring but also because the longer I’m on the line, the more national News I would miss. So instead of wasting time (while waiting), I decided to make use of my time to ponder thoughts; Thoughts that would provide me a concrete view of the entire election process.
With me on the line were talking about, of course, election. “I thought this [election] will be much faster than before because they say it’s automated”, complained one of the voters. They may not know how it works but they have every right to grumble because they never felt the help of that so called “automated” machine, but instead, it even caused delay.
The PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machine in our precinct has malfunctioned. It took two hours before the BEIs (Board of electoral inspectors) declared to resume the voting manually. It means that after voting, we have to leave our “precious” ballot allowing them to insert it in the machine themselves (if they will).
Immediately after my index finger was inked, I rushed home and tuned in to the News online and in television. I was relieved not because I have already voted but because I realized that the 4 hours hardships I experienced on the line was much easier than the failure of election system nationwide, which I think is more alarming. I was about to lose patience by the malfunctioned PCOS but I found out that some other regions experienced even worse. A lot of precinct didn’t had their PCOS machine delivered. If there were, some of those were non-functional.
Series of technical checks were done prior to the election to make sure that the machines are all functional and reliable. How come there were more than 200 cases of reported machine-related troubles? As the said checks were conducted, it was noticed that there were receipts that comes out from every machine immediately after the voter has inserted his ballot. Like in a grocery store wherein we are given receipts as a proof that the items were counted right. I think the PCOS machines were also designed with that purpose: for us to know that it is our vote that was actually counted. Why is this feature not available during the election?
In an interview, COMELEC chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. claimed that there were no failures of election wherever in the country: He said that in spite of all the reports such as ballot misdelivery in Compostela valley and Baguio, ballots with entirely the same serial numbers, pre-shaded ballots and all that. COMELEC advised the voters to just ask for another ballot if you have received a pre-shaded one. That’s it? As if nothing happened?
Furthermore, Mr. Brillantes also said that the media men are always creating a dispute about the PCOS machines and treat it as a major thing. Why not? These machines are the ones responsible for counting our votes; it obviously plays a big part of the electoral process because it greatly affects the result. “Everything is just a minor glitch” he added.
What do we expect from them with all these glitches? On the first place, it’s their job to ensure a successful election. So whatever we have to say, they have to defend and perhaps deny. They were also the ones who decided to purchase the 82,000 machines instead of just renting it.
So much for that hocus PCOS. There were a lot more glitches in the big picture like the commotion in Tondo Manila brought by 14 armed MNLF members. On top of that, the authorities claimed the election to be “peaceful”, but the real happenings showed otherwise.
In any perspective, violations and shortcomings were just denied and justified instead of acknowledging and doing something about it. Many were not able to vote, and those who voted were not sure if their votes were actually counted. The result was intervened with this “automated” system and thus not the 100% voice of the nation.
Whether it’s an issue of negligence or anomalies, still, a lot of these “minor glitches” makes a major failure. As a first time voter who spent a day to ponder views, that would be enough for me to conclude that the recent election was unsuccessful. ∞