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The Ultimate Guide for First-Time Voters in the Philippines

How to best prepare for election day on May 9, 2022

The election season can be an overwhelming and confusing period for many first-time voters. Questions like “Who do I vote for?” or “What do these candidates stand for?” probably plague their minds as the upcoming voting date—May 9, 2022 in the Philippines—draws near. 

In case you find yourself in the dark on these events, here’s a quick update: Filipinos will be electing a new set of national and local leaders, including the 17th president of the country. This year, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) tallied around 62 million registered voters, of which 32.7 million belong to the youth sector, and five million are first-time voters.

If you are voting for the first time, you may need some pointers to help you prepare, especially since this year’s voting process involves pandemic safety measures that must be observed in the precincts. This is where roundup ahead comes in. Scroll through for a guide touching on what you need to know before and during election day.

Things to Do Before Election Day

Before you get and fill out the ballot, you must be informed and remain level-headed. Prepare well for May 9 with these tips:

Do your research.

Read up on who the candidates are. Be sure to study their policies and review their previous track records to better inform your decision on election day. This will help you scope their takes on the issues you care about.

Seek the opinions of others.

Ask at least three individuals, whether within your circles or outside of them, about who they support and why. By doing this, you get a different point of view on the candidates and how their platforms impact others. 

Watch debates and interviews.

One of the best ways to get to know who you’re voting for is by tuning in to debates and interviews. Through such features, you get to observe the candidates under pressure and listen to their stances on pressing current issues.

Know when and where to vote.

Voting day is on May 9, 2022, from 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM. When you register to vote, you’re assigned to a specific precinct. To check your assignment, you may access Comelec’s Precinct Finder once the tool is activated closer to election day. Otherwise, you may personally search for your assigned post in your local precinct’s list. This will also be available before election day.

Prepare the essentials before the big day.

List down your preferred candidates beforehand. You should already know who to vote for the day before so you don’t make any accidental markings on your ballot. Bring your new normal essentials, too: like your face mask, alcohol, and vaccination card. 

A Step-by-Step Guide to Voting during the 2022 National and Local Elections

As a first-time voter, you need to familiarize yourself with the voting process beforehand to smoothly navigate the ins and outs of the voting precinct. Here’s a quick guide on everything you need to do:

Steps in Voting - May 9, 2022 National and Local Elections

  1. Get your temperature checked. Before entering the voting room, an official will take your temperature and check you for any COVID-19 symptoms. 

  2. Proceed to the Voter’s Assistance Desk (VAD). Here, you can get your precinct, queue and room number. 

  3. Go to your assigned room. Present yourself to the Electoral Board in your designated voting room. State your name, precinct number and sequence number. 

  4. Take a ballot. An official will hand you a ballot secrecy folder and a marking pen. 

  5. Fill in the ballot. Fully shade the candidate ovals so that the machine can read your vote. Remember not to over-vote.

  6. Insert your ballot in the Vote Counting Machine (VCM). Stand by and wait for the machine to process your vote. Do not leave before this is completed.

  7. Check your voter’s receipt. Were your votes processed correctly? If yes, drop the receipt in the provided receptacle. Otherwise, consult the board of elections inspectors and register your complaint. 

  8. Present your forefinger nail for staining. The poll clerk will stain your nail with indelible ink as a mark that you’ve voted. That’s it—congratulations on your first vote! 

Other Things to Consider During Election Day

  • Go to your precinct early, if and when you can. Expect that there will be hundreds of other voters in your area, so it’s best to vote before peak hours to avoid long queues.

  • Don’t take photos of your filled-out ballot and/or voter’s receipt. While voting for the first time is exciting and memorable, taking a snapshot of your accomplished ballot and receipt is not allowed. Doing so is tantamount to making a carbon copy of it. This is prohibited.

  • Exit the polling center as soon as you are done voting. Before you get too excited and take selfies with your inked finger, make sure to exit the polling center to give way to those who have yet to cast their votes.

Vote Safely and Wisely

This upcoming election is definitely something to look forward to and prepare for as a first-time voter, as this will be one of the many other instances where you can exercise your rights as a Filipino.

Whether you need to do your prep work before election day, want to stay entertained while queuing up, or plan to check out real-time election updates, stay connected online with Globe’s GoWiFi.

Art Matthew Fetalver

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