Tuesday, October 21, 2003


Three hours. That’s approximately how long it took me to register as a voter for the upcoming elections next year. I can’t really say if it was any faster compared to the previous years, since this is my first time to register to practice my right to suffrage (“suffer-age” afterwards? it’s really up to us to decide).

I arrived at the city hall early, or so I thought, to finish the entire process in a jiffy and avoid the expected crowd that will build-up as the day progresses. At the back of the city hall where the Comelec office is situated, I was greeted by two tents already swarmed with Las Piñeros, to think the office is not yet open (it was just 7:45 a.m.). Good thing I was able to save about an hour’s time from queuing to get the application form as I already went there with the document already filled-out (thanks Ma!).

I am voter-wannabe number 169 for that day, and a man on the microphone just called out numbers 60 to 70. With still 100 people ahead of me, with no one talk to and no book to wile my time away, I whipped out my mobile phone and logged on to Yahoo Messenger through GPRS to see if someone can “accompany” for the next hour or so. Fortunately, a friend from Canada was online, and we chatted for almost an hour.

Another friend texted and told me to check out the day’s Youngblood article. I had an inkling she got published to the very popular column. So I rushed to the nearest newspaper stand that I could find (which was not near at all) to grab a copy of the Inquirer, and ease out the boredom and impatience that has started to crawl in.

My batch (numbers were called by 20s) was called a few minutes after browsing through the last pages of the paper. I waited for almost another 20 minutes before I proceeded inside the air-conditioned Comelec office. Four computer stations were available inside, and getting my “livescan” (digital picture-taking and fingerprinting) was a breeze. Hi-tech, indeed, yet the process can still be made more efficient by creating a different set of lines altogether for those who just need to validate their registration.

As I went out of the building, I mentally bade goodbye to those who are still waiting in line and wished them luck. Or maybe I should have included myself and thought, “Wish us luck.” The registration is just the preview of the bigger picture and where the real action will be found-- the May elections.

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