While voting isn’t a typically comfortable experience, neither is one at the tail end of the pandemic and amid what seems to be the hottest summer yet.
So today, The Sunday Times Magazine and Lights, Camera, Boto thought it best to share some tips to ease the discomfort or inconvenience that voting usually brings at this unusual point in history. Lest any duly registered voter suddenly feels they’d rather stay home.
Remember, it is both your right and responsibility to choose the next leaders of this country. Go out tomorrow and vote!
No. 1: List down the candidates you choose to vote for today
Remember, you’re not just voting for president, vice president and senators, but also your local and provincial officials, as the case may be, not to mention a party-list, too. That’s a whole lot of names and numbers to remember and it would certainly help if you’ve got a “master list” handy to help speed up the shading.
While it is allowed to have a list of candidates, voters cannot use their mobile phones while casting their votes, so you really have to go old school with pen and paper. Better yet, at least for the national candidates, cut out the copy of an actual ballot on this page for a head start. LCB has even lined it with a cutout guide to be extra thoughtful.
No. 2: Plan the day already — from how you’re getting to the polls to what time you aim to get there
Most precincts can get crowded at certain hours. It goes without saying this means long lines, lots of waiting, perspiring and (soon enough) cursing.
Plan to vote at a not-so-busy time of the day, which past elections show to be midmorning or mid-afternoon. Avoid lunchtime or a couple of hours approaching 7 p.m. when the polls close.
No 3: Wear light clothing and, of course, a mask
Wear light clothing to feel as comfortable as possible, especially in the brutally hot Philippine summer. Of course, it is imperative to wear a mask as basic protocol even if you think we’ve beaten Covid.
Another important reminder is that you shouldn’t wear shirts or any other accessories that bear the name of any political party, candidate or party-list. These are strictly prohibited in polling centers and will, in fact, protect you from rabid followers of opposing camps convincing you to change your mind or, worse, start a fight with you in the line!
No. 4: Don’t bring your children
If it is possible to leave your little ones at home or in the care of a trusted neighbor, do it and refrain from bringing them to the precincts.
If you do, not only will you expose them to potential infection with the pandemic still here, but you might also lose your focus on the task at hand and take a longer time to vote.
No. 5: Bring water
The lines are expected to be quite long, so accept already that it will take some time for you to finish voting. To be sure, you’re bound to get thirsty while waiting your turn, so don’t forget to bring water — with lots of ice preferably — to keep you hydrated.
It will neither help if you have to energy to a fan and towel to help ease the heat on voting day.
No. 6: Bring alcohol or sanitizer
Bring the usual anti-covid weapons to avoid getting sick. Use it to disinfect pens, and other surfaces you may touch through the day. Just be sure not to get your official ballot wet and don’t forget to give your hands a good soap and water washing the minute you get hope
No 7: Bring a smile and a heart full of hope
As The Sunday Times Magazine editor and Lights, Camera, Boto! host says in today’s bonus wrap-up episode, “Let’s start it right.”
“From this very first step [of casting your vote], let’s do it right so that hopefully, we Filipinos might end up where we have always wanted to be. In a country where there’s no hunger, among a people whose rights are respected and genuinely given, and who are governed by leaders who will always put us before themselves.”
Do not initiate or join any heckling that may ensue in voting precincts. Respect other voters and voting officials by keeping your head cool no matter how hot it gets, whether literally or figuratively.