Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day 132: Ballots Cast 170 & 211

Even though our entire family trooped to the Santo Rosario Elementary School before 10:00 am on election day, it was nearly noontime when hubby and brother-in-law, Jeff, finally got to vote. Since it was already lunchtime and the BEI's had to take their break, it left my father-in-law and myself still in line waiting for our turn.

It was a good thing that the poll assistants took the initiative to make a list of those still in line  so that they still retained their place in the line after the noontime break. 

I got a text message from my father-in-law that the voting had resumed and they had already called the first 20 people on the list.  I was glad that in the nearly two hour break, I was able to have a decent lunch with my family and had a short nap to recharge. When I got to the school, there was still a pretty long line there although the people were now waiting for their names to be called as the polling people already had a list of those previously in line.

After about half an hour of waiting, I found myself finally inside the polling precinct. After the initial identification check, I was given my copy of the official ballot. For someone who actually read up on the entire process and knew of the do's and don'ts, I didn't think I'd still feel a bit clammy and scared once I got the ballot. After choosing a seat, I carefully set my ballot down on the table, taking extreme care not to crease or fold it unnecessarily. I paid careful attention to my marking pen and the position of the hand holding it too. I didn't want to blot the sides of the ballot in fear that it may invalidate it.

Since I knew my list of candidates by heart already, it only took me about less than 3 minutes to accomplish the entire thing. I took another minute or two to check front and back, making sure I didn't overvote and I shaded the ovals correctly. When I approached the PCOS machine, I had to wait awhile as there was a lady who was having a problem feeding her ballot. I believe it was the 3rd or 4th time her ballot was rejected. I saw the tears slowly forming in her eyes, the hope in her heart that for the final time, her ballot gets fed into the machine. And thank God, in her last chance, she made it! Ha! Then it was my turn to feel afraid and unsure...I was praying over and over, "Dear God, please let my vote be counted...please!"

I glanced at the screen to look at the ballot count as advised by my online volunteer friends right before feeding in my ballot. After inserting my ballot, I waited for a few seconds and I whispered a prayer of thanks once I saw the word "CONGRATULATIONS" on the screen. I was vote #211 in my clustered precinct. Later on, I found out from hubby that his was vote #170. It was a milestone in Philippine election history and we knew we had to take a photo of our index fingers as proof. We now sport the latest "in" thing - indelible ink on our finger.

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