03 May Voter’s Guide for the May 2016 Elections – How to Vote this Coming May 9 and Other Important Things You Need to Remember
Basically, all you need to remember is that if you decide to cast your vote for this coming May 9, 2016 elections, you only need to bring yourself, leave any firearms back at house, and election day in the Philippines is always a declared holiday, which means you can still bring the whole family to the mall and watch a movie if you missed one during the weekend.
For those in need to stay informed, for the curious, and for those still hiding in caves, this is, again, the time of year where we need to cast our votes, and ballots will be counted, to elect a new president, vice-president, 12 senators, one district representative, one party list representative, and provincial / city / municipal officials. This is a bit of a tall order to remember because if you vote beyond 12 senators, your ballot is invalidated. You also need to take note what district you belong to, because if you vote for the wrong district congressman/woman, again your ballot is invalidated. You can skip voting for a party list rep, but you still need to remember how many local officials you need to vote for, again, any mistakes or over-voting will invalidate your ballot. However, if you vote for lesser number of candidates, the ballot will remain valid.
This will be the third time that the Philippines will use automated voting technology, which means that total results come in faster, usually in a matter of days, as opposed to manual ballot counting that often took months to finish.
This May 9, 2016, is a declared special non-working holiday, as signed by President Benigno Aquino III in Proclamation 1254. By tradition, election days in the Philippines are always declared as such to give voters the chance to go out and vote. Normally, in this country, even if one lines up early at the voting precincts, it takes between 4 to 6 hours to vote, even if voting has been automated. Another reason to declare a holiday since workers won’t be able to go back immediately to work anyway.
For the whole election period, from January 10 to June 8, 2016, the following are considered prohibited acts under the Election Code:
- Transfer, movement, and promotion of officers and employees under the civil service.
- Bearing firearms or other deadly weapons, also known as “the gun ban.” This includes arms that bear likeness to real ones like imitation replicas, paintball guns, and pellet guns.
- Use of armed security personnel and bodyguards by candidates, unless give special mandate by Comelec.
February 9 to May 7, 2016 is the official campaign period for national candidates. (President, Vice-President, Senator, Party-list Groups). March 25 to May 7, 2016 is the official campaign period for local candidates. However, all candidates are banned from campaigning on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
May 8 and 9 are also dates for what is called the “liquor ban.” During these days, the selling, buying, transporting, and consumption of liquor in public are totally prohibited.
April 9 to May 9, 2016, is for the casting of votes for Filipinos working or living abroad, granted that they have not surrendered their Philippine citizenship or hold dual citizenship. Campaigning abroad is strictly prohibited during this period.
April 27 – 29, 2016, is the casting of votes by local absentee voters. These are people registered in their hometowns but are working in another area in the Philippines.
May 12 to 15 is the proclamation of all winners from the local, regional, to national officials, including party-list groups.
On voting day, come to the precinct early since the polling area is open from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. only. As soon as you arrive, make sure to look for your name on the voter’s list posted near the precinct. You can bring a list of candidates as a personal guide, but you cannot bring campaign materials. When you receive your ballot, inspect it to make sure it is new and not tampered with. If anything is out of the ordinary, like your name missing from the list, immediately ask guidance from the assistance desk.
On actual voting:
- You will be provided with a ballot, a ballot folder, and a marking pen. Use only the marking pen provided. Using other pens will invalidate the ballot.
- Cover your ballot using the folder. No one is allowed to peek at your ballot, not even the poll clerks.
- Shade the circles properly using the provided marker. Don’t write anything else on the ballot or else the machine will not read your ballot.
- Don’t tear, smudge, or crumple your ballot.
- After filling out your ballot, go to the Vote Counting Machine (VCM) and insert the ballot in the VCM entry slot.
- Return the ballot secrecy folder and marking pen to the poll clerk. Never take these outside when you leave the poll area.
- Wait for your voter’s receipt. The poll clerk will cut it for you.
- Check your voter’s receipt. If your votes are not reflected properly, immediately inform the poll clerk of your complaints. Make sure your complaints are noted in the minutes.
- If there are no objections, drop the receipt in the voter’s receipt receptacle. Don’t take your receipt with you, and don’t take a picture of it.
- When you’re finished, leave the poll area immediately so as not to delay the voting time of others.