Before I went to sleep, I accomplished my cheat note, I wrote all the numbers of the lucky politicians who will get my vote so that I will not stay long inside the voting precinct. I set my alarm to 6 o'clock. Well, I woke up when the clock hit 6 but I just ignored it and allowed myself a transition period of 30 minutes before I actually wake up. Officially, I woke up at quarter to seven, relatively early compared to my normal waking up time.
I am off to the voting precinct after an hour and nothing and nobody prepared me for what I have to endure just to exercise my right. Here are those things:
1. In the previous elections, there are at least 8 precincts open from 6 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon but this time it was different... the 8 were divided in half and that means a very long queue.
2. I have anticipated that lines would be long but I thought today's election is automated so it wouldn't be that hard. I am wrong! I waited for about two hours to get inside the precinct because of the many turns of our line. Waiting outside seems like forever but thank goodness I saw familiar faces and we chatted the whole two hours to keep ourselves entertained.
3. While waiting in line, I saw this self-proclaimed prominent person in our locality who has no positive things to say about the election. He was talking to somebody, I have to eavesdrop, and he said it will be a failure, and that the Board of Election Inspectors should have made 4 lines because there are 4 precincts. I wanted to butt in because he clearly doesn't understand what was going on (refer to number 1). Why can't he be optimistic for the sake of the nation? Before my temper got hold of me I had to divert my attention to a more light and optimistic conversation in front of me.
4. I wished to be a senior citizen just for today because they don't have to wait in line for their turn. My grandmas were inside while I was still out and sweaty. It was 36 degrees Celsius and that made waiting even harder. I could feel my sweat roll down my back.
5. The lighter and more optimistic conversation that I was talking about was the experience of an acquaintance inside the precinct. She said it was fast and more organized compared last time. I felt relieved.
6. My name was listed in 0119B number 42. I went inside the precinct, signed on the registered voters' list and they handed me a folder that contains a blank ballot and a special marker. I chose to be seated in front and near the BEI's table in case I will have questions. I took my my cheat note and read once again the instructions on how to fill out the ballot and inspected that it is really empty... better be safe than sorry.
7. It took me less than 10 minutes to shade the ovals. I was too careful not to shade outside the boarder because they said it will be rejected. I actually felt like an elementary pupil thinking about all the precautions while shading the thinly bordered ovals. I was concerned about our nanny whose hands are too shaky. I wish she will not shade outside the boarder.
8. I waited for my turn to insert the ballot in to the PCOS machine. When it was my turn, the machine had an error. I am still optimistic, I have to be, I don't want my ballot to be gone to waste. I waited another five minutes and after three tries, the machine greeted me congratulations for casting my vote. My index finger was marked with an indelible ink and I put my thumb mark on the registered voters' list confirming that I have voted.
I was the 154th person to vote in precinct 0119B and all I can say to the remaining 1100 who are waiting for their turn and to all other Filipinos in other precincts is to be patient because it is the day we will all decide on the fate of our nation. Let us make history by exercising our right--our only right, I think, that makes us all equal.