11/3/09

Right To Vote

Written in four languages, a sign directs voters to the polls at P.S. 20

Today is Election Day in New York City. I voted for the first time.

It's been many years since I last voted in an election - back in the early 90's during a Presidential election in the Philippines. I've been away from Philippine shores for much of the time since then, toiling first in Saudi Arabia as an OFW. When the Overseas Absentee Voting Act was finally enacted in 2003, I was already in the US, still a Pinoy eligible to vote. However, I was unable to register for the 2004 elections since I was required to fill an affidavit of intent to return - and actually reside in the Philippines - something which I feared ran against my Green Card status at the time.

During my oath taking as an American citizen last summer, I was handed a voter registration card to fill which I mailed later. Interestingly, the registration process gave me an option to select a political party to affiliate with (Democrat, Republican, etc.). The Board of Elections sent me a month later my new voter card as well as specific voting instructions. A few weeks ago, a General Election Voter Guide also came in the mail, a really very useful guide for first time voters like me. It listed all citywide candidates vying for various positions up for grabs: Mayor, Comptroller, Public Advocate, Borough President and City Council members.


Voting today was from 6 AM to 9 PM. I decided to go to my designated polling place after work which in my case was P.S. 20 - a Public School which is just across from my apartment building. Unlike my previous experience in the Philippines which involved a frustrating search for my own name in different classrooms, voting took less than 15 minutes inside the school's auditorium. Friendly multi-ethnic staff (a Latina, a Chinese and a Korean in one table!) pointed me to the Election District table where my identity was verified. An Indian lady explained how the voting machine worked and in no time, I was inside a curtained cubicle tasked with selecting officials for the city of New York. Which really wasn't so daunting - I knew who I wanted to vote for.

Having accomplished a part of the oath I took only a few months ago, I felt happy. Exercising our right to vote is a civic duty we should all do. After all, it's a gift of democracy. There are citizens frustrated with their own governments for sure but who else will help maintain a strong foundation in a democracy but people willing to participate in it? How about you:
Would you vote in an election?


My candidate for Mayor

11 comments:

  1. I hope you voted for my favorite candidates. Just kidding.

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  2. Yes, I will. Would be my second time to vote. The first one was during college pa. Kaya medyo excited ako. =)

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  3. sadly, i'm apolitical. it's embarrassing.

    did you vote when you were still a filipino?

    it just seems pointless here.

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  4. wow! exciting times ahead though we really dont know what change they can bring. ill think of the good side.

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  5. I am not sure about this one. I have this constant battle against idealism and realism. Of course, every vote counts, but then in the end, most of the time it doesn't mean a thing. So I suppose it depends on the issues at the table. An sad to say, I am 27 and still haven't had the opportunity to exercise this right.

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  6. Weee! ako virgin pa ako sa mga boto botong mga ganyan... ahahahahahahaha. school lang ata at prof. org. ang sinasalihan kong pagboto pero sa governance wala pa... jijijijiji... di rin ako registered voter... jijijiji...

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  7. like you, i still believe in the power of voting. it keeps democracy alive! i'll vote in RP's 2010 election. actually, i'm excited for the change of governance. can't wait! i'm still hopeful for great improvement.

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  8. sana dito rin sa Pilipinas maging computerized na elections at sana ganun narin kadaling pumili. mahirap kasi dimo alam sinu totoo....

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  9. i always vote even in barangay elections because that is one right that makes everyone equal.

    who will i vote? anyone from villar, teodoro or aquino but i need to listen to their platform first.

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  10. perhaps, I will if the election process in ours will be as cool as there in the states (lol)

    but yes, amidst the pessimism, i still feel like doing my part - unfortunately, work timings for most of us didnt permit us to brave the long queue in the embassy..

    rgds dens.was quite bz here.

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  11. yeah. i will kuya. i'm already a registered voter. i will vote for the first time next year. // i just hope that my lone vote will be counted.

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