5 Takeaways from my 5-Hour Voter Registration Experience

Comelec Voter Registration

Now that school’s out for the semester, I finally had the time to leave my mommy duties to attend to my civic one. First order of the day was to go and get my Voter Registration reactivated, as I haven’t been able to vote for the past two elections. Upon checking from COMELEC that SM MOA is a Satellite Registration Center for 1st District in Pasay, my original voting precinct, I headed there.

Comelec Voter Registration

In my mind, reactivation of an existing registration should be simple enough. The programmer in me can sum it up in these steps:

  1. Pull out the correct file from the computer
  2. Verify the information against the ID presented
  3. Change the status from inactive to active
  4. Add in the digitized fingerprints
  5. Save

It should really be just that easy, right?

Then why did it take me 5 long agonizing hours to do it??

Having waited that many hours, here are my 5 takeaways from the experience.

1. The one in charge has never ever waited in a long line his/her entire life.

Waiting is not fun. It makes you hungry, it makes you cranky. It’s tiring, it’s irritating. There were only three rows of chairs in front, which you have to wait three hours just to be able to sit on! So why make people wait? Why not make the system more efficient to hasten the lines? Everyone in the line had his own suggestion on how to improve the queue. If only the one in charge experienced the whole thing, he would have known how to alleviate the congestion.

Comelec Voter Registration

2. Filipinos are too proud to carry their own trash.

Not all really. In fairness to some who held on to their empty cups and empty food boxes until they found a trash bin to dispose them. The floor however, suffered the wrath of those who felt that holding on to their empty bottles and empty fries packets was beyond them. The only good thing was that it was inside the mall where there really were hired cleaners to do the job. What if it were in the streets? Is it too much to ask for everyone to clean up after themselves and throw their trash in the proper place?

Comelec Voter Registration

3. We always Procrastinate. 

We’ve all had the chance to do this as early as August or September and yet we chose to do it at the very last minute. I overheard a person discussing it over the phone with someone, explaining that she had always thought that the deadline was still so far away anyway and she had plenty of time to do it. I’m sure everyone had the same idea. Guilty!

4. Hope, optimism, and a sense of humor kept everyone going.  

I actually stopped in my tracks when I caught sight of the snaking line from afar. From the end of the line, it seemed like a dismal line to forever and yet many chose to stay and many chose to endure it. For me, I had to resist the temptation to do some much-needed shopping and waited in line instead with the fervent hope that my one vote for the right candidate may help finally turn the country around. We desperately need it, don’t we? 

While the queueing registrants certainly did not lack in muttering curses and invectives, there were also words of encouragement from amongst them. Just a few more to go…We can finish this… The line seems to be getting faster already… Whether true or not, it sure helped ease the weary spirits of those who heard them.      

Comelec Voter Registration

5. There is no way to fix a broken system but to change it. 

It had been more than a week since the Satellite Registration Center started operating in MOA since last October 19. I’m sure the lines were just as long on the first day as it was on its 10th day when I went. They served more or less 700 registrants per day with each waiting an average of 5 hours to finish. Securing a form alone took 3 hours already. There was no segregation of the type of registrant (new, reactivate, transfer). Everyone had to fall under the same line, wait the same amount of time.

A good administrator would have seen the glaring problem already after the first few runs. I would have thought that at the end of a tiring day, the administrators would have put their heads together to come up with a better and faster system to ease both their and the registrants’ plight for the next day. But no, the same system was used day in day out with nary an improvement. The queueing public gets antsy, which in turn gets the tired workers on the defensive.

Everyone ends up tired and angry with a government agency that’s left much to be desired.

I can’t help but think that it’s the same for the entire government system.

Comelec Voter Registration

How about you? Have you registered for the biometrics yet? How was your experience?

If you haven’t yet, you’ve still got a few days left. The registration ends on October 31, 2015.

You may check Comelec’s Precint Finder to check if you still need to register or not. Good luck! 🙂


25 thoughts on “5 Takeaways from my 5-Hour Voter Registration Experience

  1. 5 hours is enough for a mom to do all her errands while away from the kids! Grabe. I hope we can all learn from this as I read that Filipinos are being inefficient due to always waiting.

    And pet peeve ko yang not throwing the trash in its proper place! Nakakainis!

  2. Oh my, All the post I’ve seen says that it’s a minimum of 5 hours and with what you’ve mentioned I can’t imagine that it would take that long! I’m guilty though of not doing it earlier too.

  3. Guess what. I just clicked the Precinct Finder and it’s broken. Haha! It’s hilarious how this country is being ran. My husband is in service and I have so many ideas about how they can improve their system. The problem is, the people up there are not open to these suggestions. Ewan ko ba sa kanila.

  4. I meant to go this morning but I woke up a little late. Work is at 2 so I decided that I was never going to make it. Sigh. I won’t be able to exercise my democratic right to vote this yea.

  5. I’m sorry to hear about your experience. I didn’t have this experience because I registered the moment it was announced. I believe we won’t be facing this much of a problem if everyone went months before the LAST 2 DAYs?! 🙂

    No matter how busy we are, we can always spend at least a day, months before, to go Nd register…back when there were no lines, when people were not angry and hungry. 🙂

  6. Oh wow, 5 hours. I’ve never had to wait that long – – during both my first registration & the time I had to have my biometrics updated (not even my fault because THEY lost my data). Must be because both processes were done in our brgy hall. Still, COMELEC needs to be a lot more efficient! One of my team members, a 20-year old who will be voting for the first time, left work at 2 pm and didn’t get to go home until 9!

  7. I hate queueing for long lines. That’s why I registered as early as June pa lang. Pwedeng-pwede mag tumbling sa corridors ng Comelec sa luwag. 🙂 So, if we want to avoid the loooong lines, let’s not wait for the last day. Mas maaga pa din mas maganda.

  8. Oh gosh. Waiting in queues is one of the things that make living in PH s-uck. hehe Pardon my blunt honesty. It’s true, not just for voter registration. I have experienced it in every government facility that I needed some important documents from — NSO, PRC, etc. I can still remember how I lined up to register for the licensure exams 5 years ago, and then how we were treated when we came back to get our IDs. I can also recall the first time I registered as a voter. Well, I went home last year to renew my license ID and nothing much has changed. I don’t really understand how a country with many capable IT literates could fail at digitizing stressful processes like booking an appointment, paying bills, acquiring personal documents, etc. Way to go, beloved PH! <3 PS. I already cast my vote from here in Norway. Did the registration here as well. BUT I'm awefully disappointed with COMELEC re: the data leakage. I'm quite hesitant to register again after this election. 😛

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