2010 Elections: Davaoeños Endure Long Lines to Vote

Davao Today

DAVAO CITY — Voters in Marahan and Sasa endured waiting in long queues to cast their vote. Others gave up and went home without voting.

In Marahan Central Elementary School in the city’s third district, the voting pace was slow, and even those who went before the poll centers opened waited for five hours for their turn to vote. The school had two precincts with 1,000 total voters. By noon, only 30 percent of the total number has cast their votes.

A 70-year old voter who queued and waited for two hours was dismayed after his votes were invalidated. He wrongly shaded the oval and scribbled some figures on the ballot.

Another voter, Anie Ubatay, 50, smudged her ballot with indelible ink which was applied on her finger by the BEI before she could finish feeding the form into the PCOS machine. The machine rejected her ballot.

Most voters take only eight minutes to cast their votes. Voting is done in batches; with six voters per batch allowed to vote simultaneously before another batch is allowed to enter the polling booths. Many voters were exasperated by the slow pace and loudly complained. One went home without casting her vote, saying he had nothing to gain from voting anyway and walked away.

In Cornelio Reta Elementary School in Dona Salud, Sasa, voters also complained of the slow pace of the voting process. Many skipped breakfast so that they can go to the polling places early. They did not expect that the queue was very long. By 9 am, close to 300 voters were queuing, becoming impatient. Ten voters were allowed inside the polling booths at a time. Each batch finished voting in about 20 to 30 minutes. All voters in a batch had to finish voting before another batch of voters was allowed to enter the booths. A voter here spent at least three hours looking for one’s name in the voters list, to line up and to actually vote. As of 12:30 pm Monday, only 30 percent of the 785 voters in the clustered precinct were able to cast their votes. Senior citizens here were given priority to vote. (Bulatlat.com)

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