Going out to vote? How to survive the long lines ( Advice ) – Philippines elections 2010

Posted at 05/10/2010 12:55 PM | Updated as of 05/10/2010 1:34 PM

At a polling place, a man finds an unusual hat to shield himself from the harsh rays of the sun. Photo by Ces Drilon, abs-cbnNEWS.

MANILA, Philippines – Going out to vote? Don’t be surprised by the long lines at polling places. The COMELEC has grouped some precincts into clusters, with one cluster getting one PCOS machine. Voters thus have to fall in line and wait for their turn.

Early voters have reported queueing for 30 minutes to one hour or more, although actual voting just takes ten minutes or less.

Voters are advised to look for their assigned precincts at the Voter Precinct Finder on the Comelec website to avoid the thick crowd checking the voter’s list at polling places.

Here are some tips on how to survive the long lines:

1. Bring bottled water. Protect yourself from heatstroke by constantly hydrating yourself. The summer heat can be oppressive, and public school classrooms have no air conditioning. Bottled water is being sold by vendors around polling places, but unless you want to shell out P15 for a 500-ml bottle of mineral water, bring your own bottled water.

2. Bring a fan. Temperature may soar to 37 degrees Celsius today in Metro Manila alone, so brace yourself for the heat, especially from noontime to 2 p.m. Arm yourself by bringing a foldable paper fan, an old-fashioned anahaw fan, or a battery-operated handheld fan.

3. Put on sunblock, wear a hat or use an umbrella. Sun protection should not be forgotten.

4. Take a book, a newspaper, an iPod or mp3 player. The long wait can be arduous and reading or listening to music is a lot better than just staring at the walls and ceiling.

5. Strike a conversation with fellow voters. Make friends by making small talk while in line. There’s lots to talk about–who to vote, what the country needs, how the next elections can be improved.

6. Bring snacks. You’ll never know how long you’ll have to wait, so it’s best to bring light snacks such as crackers to keep sugar levels normal and satisfy hunger pangs. Or you can buy food items around the polling places. At Barangay Bahay Toro in Quezon City, vendors were selling tuna and hot dog sandwiches, turon, rice and viands, bottled tea drinks, softdrinks and more.

7. Never ever step out of the line unless it’s a matter of life and death. Your number may be called, and if you’re not in line (say you’re buying a drink or chitchatting with friends at the next classroom), the ones next in line will be called in your place.

8. Hold your temper. If you’re impatient, you’ll just make matters worse. At Barangay Bahay Toro, a middle-aged woman accused a teacher of playing favorites by letting a couple go ahead in line. "Palakasan ba dito? Bakit nauna sila? Kanina pa kami dito. Sh–t kayo!" she shouted. But it turned out that the couple in question were there earlier than her, stepped out of line for a few minutes, then came back.

9. If you’re a senior citizen, say so the minute you enter your assigned precinct. Senior citizens will be given priority in the queue.