With only just a few days left before the 2019 Philippine Elections, most of us still have a lot of questions in mind. Not the least of which are: Who are deserving of my precious votes? And also, what exactly are we supposed to do come May 13?
It takes a lot of courage, wisdom and, most especially, decisiveness to choose which among the candidates are worthy of your vote. Keep in mind that this is not just a one-time thing.
Duly elected politicians will serve three to six years, and you don’t want to waste your vote on someone who won’t accomplish anything during that time period.
So whether this is your first-time voting or not, allow us to help you by answering most if not all of your queries, and guide you through the voting process by providing some tips for you to have an easy election day.
Take part in yet another milestone in Philippine history by casting your vote this upcoming 2019 elections. Here is a guide on what to do on and before the election day, and some answers to some of your most frequently asked questions.
10 steps to voting properly
1. Make a list of who you will vote for
Be an educated voter. Study the platforms and achievements of the candidates running for different posts.
Keep in mind that you need to vote 12 senators, 1 party list, 1 mayor, 1 vice mayor, 6 councilors, and 1 member of the house of representatives.
2. Check your voting precinct
Avoid going to the wrong place or getting lost in the sea of voters by knowing where your voting precinct is located.
You may inquire about your precinct by using COMELEC’s precinct finder. Just sign in on their official website and fill in your correct details in each field. This will provide you with your voter information as well as your registration details along with the map to your voting center.
You can also get in touch with COMELEC through their hotline at (02) 525-9296. You can also inquire through text by sending them a message at 09185668301.
On social media: Tweet them at @COMELEC or message them on Facebook (facebook.com/COMELEC.ph). It’s best to do this during business hours (8 AM to 5 PM) so you can be sure that someone will be available to attend to your inquiries.
3. Prepare IDs—just in case
Make sure that your IDs are valid and bring them with you on Election Day. It’s best to have your IDs with you in case the Board of Election Inspector (BEI) at your precinct needs to verify your identity.
4. Come early
Beat the long lines by going to the precincts early. The voting hours will be from 6 AM to 6 PM.
5. Triple check your ballot
Once you’ve received your ballot from the BEI, make sure that it is untampered and has a UV mark.
Don’t make unnecessary marks or fold your ballots because doing so might invalidate your vote. And remember, each voter can only get 1 ballot.
6. Shade the circle properly and completely
There is a high chance that the machine will not count your vote if the circle is not shaded properly. The BEI will provide an official marker, so you don’t have to bring one.
Keep in mind that you can UNDERVOTE, but you cannot OVERVOTE.
7. No selfies allowed
You can bring your mobile phones with you, but you are strictly prohibited from using them while inside the polling place. While it is tempting to take a “nationalistic” selfie with your ballot, please be reminded that you might get penalized for that.
8. Get inked
Once you’ve accomplished your ballot, run it through the PCOS machine and get your finger marked with indelible ink.
Review the voting receipt that the election worker will give you, and make sure that the information written there is correct. Once the information is verified, drop the receipt in the voting receipt receptacle.
Remember: You are not allowed to leave the polling place with your voting receipt.
9. Be prepared for the summer heat
Since summer is still in full swing, expect the polling places to be really hot in addition to being packed with people. It’s best to wear breathable but decent clothes that will help you stay cool throughout the entire voting process.
10. Bring baon and avoid getting HANGRY.
The voting process could take around 30 minutes to as long as five hours, or even longer. Aside from eating a heavy breakfast before going to the precinct, consider bringing some snacks and drinks with you.
Feel free to load your smartphone with e-books, e-magazines, articles, or even your favorite movies and videos to keep yourself entertained while falling in line to enter the polling place.
You are allowed to use your phone as long as you’re not inside the polling place yet but once you enter the precincts, phones should be kept at all cost.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Philippine elections
1. What can you do and can’t do inside voting precincts?
- Only use the markers provided in the voting precinct to shade their ballots.
- Ask only the poll watchers or any election representative if they have any questions regarding the voting process.
- Bring a list of their chosen candidates for personal guidance, however, DO NOT bring any campaign paraphernalia.
- Bring the ballot and other election-related materials outside the voting precincts.
- Speak to anybody in the voting hall other than the election inspectors.
- Expose the ballot while accomplishing it.
- Let another person accomplish the ballot for them.
- Draw or put anything on the ballot except their vote marks.
- Use any devices or gadgets to have a copy of the ballot’s content.
- Intentionally tear or deface the ballot.
- Disrupt or attempt to disrupt the normal operations of the PCOS machine.
- Carry any firearm or deadly weapon.
- Crowd or cause disorder on the voting halls and precincts.
- Take photos and videos inside the polling place.
2. What about senior citizens, pregnant women and PWDs?
Persons with disabilities (PWDs), pregnant women, senior citizens, and escorted detainees will have a separate voter’s list, precincts, and assistors. Express lanes will be provided to them for faster voting process.
3. Can I change my voter’s registration?
Before the start of the elections, the COMELEC allows you to make changes in your registration. For this electoral period, the period of time given was July 2, 2018, to September 29, 2018.
If you fail to process your registration during the scheduled dates, you will not be anymore allowed to do so and hence you will not be able to cast your votes on this election day. Keep an eye out for COMELEC announcements for the next election period to ensure you can make the changes you need to be able to vote then.
4. What if I changed residences?
If you moved to a new place any time after the last election, you will need to visit your local COMELEC office and file an Application for Transfer if your assigned precinct has changed. Failure to do so will force you to vote on your old voting precinct until the application process for precinct transfer has been accomplished.
5. How do you know where you are registered?
You may inquire about your precinct by using COMELEC’s precinct finder. Just sign in on their official website and fill-in your correct details in each field. This will provide you with your voter information as well as your registration details along with the map to your voting center.
6. Why is my registration record deactivated?
If your registration record has been deactivated, you may have failed to vote in two successive regular elections.
A deactivated status can also be because you were imprisoned for more than one year, declared insane by the authorities, or convicted of any crime against national security and of disloyalty to the government. In these cases, you may apply for a Reactivation of Registration Record at your local COMELEC office.
7. Where do I vote?
Get in touch with COMELEC through their hotline at (02) 525-9296. You can also inquire through text by sending them a message at 09185668301. They are also active on social media: tweet them at @COMELEC or message them on Facebook (facebook.com/COMELEC.ph). It’s best to do this during business hours (8 am to 5 pm) so you can be sure that someone will be available to attend to your inquiries.
8. Is May 13 a holiday?
As much as we are encouraged to cast our votes, election day is not declared as a holiday. Most companies declare it as a no-workday to give time to their employees to vote. It is best to coordinate with your respective HRs regarding this matter.
9. How can I correct errors and changes in my name and personal info?
If your current registration record has typos or errors, sadly you’ll need to go back to the COMELEC office to correct them in order to vote. You may file an Application for Change/Correction of Entries—this applies as well for recently married females who have changed their surnames.
FAQs about Overseas Voting
10. Can I vote even if I am outside of the country this election?
Yes. As long as you are a registered voter of the country where you’re at.
11. How do I know if I am registered to vote as an overseas voter?
If your name appears in the Certified List of Overseas Voters (CLOV) in the country where you’re in, then you’ll know you are registered as an overseas voter.
12. Is it still possible for me to register as an overseas voter?
The registration for Overseas Voting for the 2019 National Elections concluded last 30 September 2018. This was intended to give COMELEC time to finalize the CLOV in preparation for the Elections.
If you wish to register, wait for the announcement as to when the registration for the 2022 elections will open.
13. I was able to vote many years ago. How come my name is not in the CLOV?
If you failed to vote in the last two elections, your voter’s records will be deactivated, and your name will be removed from the CLOV. You may re-apply to reactivate your records when the next registration period opens.
14. My name is in the CLOV. How do I vote?
You will receive your COMELEC mailing packet in the mailing address you provided in your registration. The mailing packet will contain your ballot as well as instructions on how to accomplish it and send it back to the Embassy.
Please make sure that you follow the instructions so and your vote will be counted, and your ballot will not be invalidated.
15. What if I moved to a different address since I registered?
Inform the Philippine embassy as early as possible regarding your new mailing address. You will be provided with a form, fill it up and submit it.
When the registration period reopens, you will need to formally apply for a Change of Address so that your voter’s records can be updated.
16. Can I personally pick up my ballot from the Embassy and fill it up there?
Yes, this would be possible, but you have to inform your embassy as early as possible if you prefer to personally pick up your ballot so they will not anymore mail it to you.
You can send them an email, or you can go straight to their office to inform them that you will be personally accomplishing the ballot there.
17. When is the period for overseas voting?
Overseas Voting usually starts a month earlier than the official election’s proper in the Philippines. For this voting period, it will take place from April 13, 2019 to May 13, 2019.
18. How long does the overseas voting period last?
Voting period lasts for 30 days, inclusive of established holidays in the Philippines and such holidays in the host countries. For the 2019 National and Local Elections, the voting period shall be from April 13, 2019 to May 13, 2019.
19. Where is overseas voting conducted?
Voting is held at the premises of the embassies, consulates and other foreign service establishments authorized by the COMELEC to conduct the voting. Voting may be also held for limited days in the field voting centers or mobile voting centers authorized by the Commission.
20. Who conducts the voting?
For personal voting, the COMELEC deputizes a body to conduct the voting and counting of votes, known as the Special Board of Election Inspectors (SBEI).
For postal voting, the COMELEC deputizes a body to take custody of the ballots and distribute the same during the voting to the registered voter, known as the Special Ballot Reception and Custody Group (SBRCG).
21. What if I’m a registered voter but have changed citizenship? Can I still vote?
If you have already given up your Philippine citizenship, you are no longer eligible to vote in the Elections. In case you still receive a ballot, please do not use it and inform your embassy about your change of citizenship.
22. How can I make sure that my ballot and my vote will be counted?
First, you have to make sure that the embassy will receive your accomplished ballot. In the previous voting sessions, the Commission observed problems in the local postal system with a number of ballots sent being lost.
If you are ready to invest a bit more to ensure that your completed ballot would reach the embassy, kindly use a registered mail or even a courier, if you are unable to personally submit your ballot. Once the ballot reaches the authorized centers, and if there are no grounds to invalidate it, such as failing to provide your signature in it, then you may rest assured that your votes will be counted.
23. I have gotten married and changed my name since I registered so my name is now different from what appears in the CLOV. Can I still vote?
As long as you are one and the same person and can prove it if required, you may still vote. However, once the registration period reopens, please apply to change your details so that your voter’s records will be updated.
For more questions, you can visit COMELEC’s official website, reach them through their email or call them on the hotline provided.