Walkthrough: A guide to GE 2019

“Vote wisely!”—A phrase commonly heard during elections, but whose meaning often remains vague and ambiguous.

Platforms, promises, and speeches will again echo the halls of the University as the voting proper for the General Elections (GE) is set to kick off this July 23 to 26. Students will be given the opportunity to exercise their rights through electing the leaders of their choice. 

While it may seem like an easy task for others, there are certain things that voters should keep in mind this coming GE to efficiently go through the voting procedures.

In an interview with The LaSallian, DLSU Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairperson JC Ababan shares all there is to know in becoming wiser voters—from election schedules and polling places, to voting procedures and reporting harassment cases.

The wheres and whens

The parade of blues and reds signify the beginning of campaign season. According to Comelec, parties and candidates are allowed to begin their campaigns starting July 15 until July 22. A Miting de Avance (MDA) and the Harapan debate will serve as the crescendo of the activities, to be held on July 19 and 20, during the last leg of the campaign period. Each candidate will be given the chance to defend their platforms one last time and sway students for their vote.

Voting period, the main event of the election season, falls from July 23 to July 26. To accommodate voters, multiple voting booths will be scattered throughout the campus where students can vote for their desired candidates. Designated places for voting are set up based on the colleges.

Booths for the College of Business (RVRCOB), College of Liberal Arts (CLA), College of Engineering (GCOE), and the School of Economics (SOE) will be found in the Henry Sy Sr. Hall Grounds, while booths for College of Education students (BAGCED) will be located in the Br. Andrew Gonzalez Hall.

The usual voting booth for the College of Science (COS) and the College of Computer Studies (CCS) will temporarily be unavailable, however, as the Gokongwei Hall lobby closes for renovation. Ababan admits that the location of the third voting booth for CCS and COS students is still to be decided. He says that one of the suggestions considered was the Marian Quadrangle, but the possibility of inclement weather, especially rain, is a worrisome concern. In the worst case scenario, Ababan puts forward the possibility that the two colleges would be asked to vote in the Henry Sy Sr. Hall Grounds along with majority of the other colleges.

Five-step voting procedure

All enrolled undergraduate students are eligible to vote for the 2019 GE. Comelec reminds students to bring their ID during their preferred voting day for verification with the Office of the University Registrar (OUR). If a student fails to bring their ID, they can also present their Enrollment Assessment Form (EAF) or an Official Receipt of enrollment. Comelec outlines five steps for students to follow during voting:

First, voters must make their way to their designated polling booth, where there will be lines for voters based on their specific colleges.

Second, voters will proceed to Table A where they will surrender their school ID, EAF, or official receipt of enrollment to the Comelec volunteer in exchange for a ballot. Once received, the voter will write down their ID number on the ballot and let the Comelec volunteer in charge sign it.

Third, the student can now enter the polling booth to vote for their candidates. Shaded ballots will be cast by dropping them in ballot boxes for each respective college.

Fourth, the student must then proceed to Table B for the Comelec volunteer to declare their home college and ID number for verification. Lastly, once they are verified, the student will sign on a log sheet to claim back their ID.

A call for voters

It is not uncommon for students to experience elections-related harassment says Ababan. According to him, students were always afraid to report harassment cases to Comelec, “As much as we want to penalize parties, we cannot move unless there is a [formal] complaint,” he narrates.

Ababan adds that Comelec prioritizes the rights of students during elections. “We do not want [students] to vote because they were harassed by the party members,” shares the chairperson. “Choosing candidates should be the voter’s own discretion and prerogative,” he continues, “[because] it is their right to exercise [their decision].” Ababan assures that Comelec will accommodate students during the GE, and that any student can file a complaint to their office if they experience voting harassment.

Aside from filing complaints, Ababan adds that the Comelec office will be open for students to raise other issues during the voting period. The USG Session Hall will serve as Comelec’s temporary office during the campaign period and will be open to voters who would like to direct concerns to Comelec.

Gabriel Cuaresma

By Gabriel Cuaresma

Eliza Santos

By Eliza Santos

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