The Count that Counts and the Long Wait

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An election is an interesting thing. It is probably one of those days that one gets to see your neighbor’s literally. And it is amazing. For a brief moment the whole diverse universe otherwise known as your neghborhood precinct.

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Everyone was there from the old and new families that have lived in Cubao for years were there to vote. Lolos and Lolas; Fathers and Mothers; Sons and Daugthers were there. Some even brought their non-voting family members – children and babies.

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But … Today though was not your normal election day.

In the precinct number 5547-A, Cluster number 868 in Cubao, Quezon City, the lines seemed to run forever. And each voter that came and saw the line immediately had the face of disbelief, annoyance and resignation. This was at eight in the morning.

One could just imagine the stress and strain all who were part of this election experienced. The heat;the long queues or lines; and the resulting delay in voting took their toll.

Some fumed. A number complained out aloud. Some complained in silence letting their face and eyes show their unhapiness. There were those who texted and called. Some look beyond and at the back of the line to check their progress. And then there were of course those who talked and compared this election and the election of years ago when people easily stepped into their precinct and voted.

This was at around eight am. And people had started coming in at seven in the morning. It was going to be a long wait. Fortunately, the senior citizens were allowed to vote as they came in, sparing them from something that might severly affect their health.

In our cluster we did not experience any technical problems with the machines. But rather it was the clustering and assignment of only one machine per cluster that seemed to have caused the delay.

Imagine each precinct as a road that people would use to reach a destination – the ballot box. Each road would lead to a different destination. Now with clustering – all precincts would be bound to one single machine. Before one had four to five for seven thousand citizens. Now it was one for Seven Thousand.

The Board of Election Inspectors and volunteers were doing their best. But it was and still is an uphill struggle given these sets of conditions.

It took nearly three hours and eight minutes for me to complete my vote. Th wait took around three hours and the actual voting took eight minutes. And as of Three in the afternoon the Comelec had announce it was going to extend the voting till after Seven in the Evening. Reading the reports that came in we were still lucky. And the Come And this is the count that counts.

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