It is 7.30pm and Comelec already has some official precinct results. The first consolidated results are due at 9pm. Fantastic really, especially after all the doom-mongering that has been going on for the last few months.
I’m not cracking open the Tanduay 8 Años yet, since as everyone says, under the old system the cheating occurred at the consolidation stage. Nevertheless, as the CNN reporter just said: “All in all it has gone fairly well.”
That is brilliant news.
The eager Filipino
However early you get to the airport for a Manila-bound flight you will never, ever, beat your Filipino fellow passengers. You won’t even be among the first 50 passengers to show up at check-in.
Something of the same mentality was evident today at the crowded precincts all over the country this morning. The Filipino’s natural get-there-first instincts combined with the novelty of the new PCOS gadgets and fear over the anticipated technical glitches led to huge crowds at precinct offices almost everywhere.
There were failures of some machines, apparently 300—400 broke down during the course of the day, but the main reason for the enormous queues was simply that voters were not spread evenly over the course of the day.
Take East Rembo Elementary School in Makati, where my driver spent five and a half sweaty hours this morning waiting to cast his vote for Nicky Perlas. I returned there with him after work and the school was relatively quiet, with voters making it through in just over an hour.
The amount of time taken to vote varied enormously. Not surprisingly, the precincts in poorer areas were the scene of the longest queues, 6 hours for a friend’s maid in Caloocan was the longest I heard of. And of course those in the villages did not exactly suffer (although a friend in Dasma did turn back when she saw the queues).
Yet the quickest votes were cast by friends outside the villages; a friend in Mandaluyong, Barangay Plainview, took only 10 minutes. Frayed in Malate claimed it took her 2 minutes!
Rage Against the Machine
All in all about 400 machines broke down, some because they were “too hot.” In Masbate two PCOS machine apparently caught fire ...
Having said that, it seems that most of the machines were either replaced or fixed well before the close of polling, so fair play to Smartmatic for that.
Rough hands cause voter failure
There was a lovely explanation for low voter turnout from an election official in Maguindano in answer to Ricky Carangdang asking why, out of 901 voters in the precinct, only 350 voted. Our official’s answer? Voters found it difficult to shade in the ovals because their hands were too rough. They were more used to holding ploughs. On further probing, it turned out that a bomb had exploded about 25 meters from the voting booth this morning.