Sunday, January 31, 2010

Voter's education and organizers overcharging

So ... my classmates and I attended this seminar last Saturday about voter's education and the guest speaker was Director Jimenez of COMELEC. My Org. Culture class was required to attend by out professor in lieu of our regular class because he was tasked to mediate the open forum after. This forum was important because of the innovation they are doing to the way people will vote this coming May. In case you didn't know, the upcoming elections will be automated and electronic.

Automated and electronic. Does that mean there will be computer terminals there and people will vote by clicking on names with a mouse? Actually, no. It means that we vote on official ballots (that look like tickets) and mark circles with a special marking pen they will provide. After making your selections you go to the PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machine in the middle of the room and insert your ballot which will scan and tally your votes with all the ones that preceded yours in the precinct. Easy, right?

The one thing what was stressed to us over and over and we are not allowed to forget is this ... DO NOT OVERVOTE!!! We can UNDERvote but we need to make sure that we do not mark more than what is required. For example, we need to elect 12 senators ... DO NOT MARK 13! you can mark anywhere from 1 to 12, just not more than that. If you overvote the ballot becomes invalid. He also emphasized that it is a "touch move" system. You cannot change your mind on a vote once your marker touches the ballot. The machine will not understand that you changed your mind.

Long and short ... the seminar was good, Director Jimenez was a good speaker. We were not bored for even an instant! The only real complaint I can make is that the organizers charged us P100 per person at the door to attend this seminar.
  1. We did not know (as we were uninformed) that we would have to pay P100 and were therefore unprepared. I gave my last money (sans commute fare) to them. I don't usually carry a big amount when I go to school, only what I need, which isn't usually more than P200 for meals and transportation fare.
  2. We had nothing to show for the seminar as there were no handouts given.
  3. No snacks were served.
  4. The seminar should have been free because it is the responsibility of COMELEC to provide voter's education for free.
So my question is ... what exactly did we pay for? Was it the venue? If so, then I think that cost should have been shouldered by the organizers. Perhaps they did not have enough funds. Ok, charge us ... but I think P100 was too much. There were more than 100 people there, if we tag it at 100 that means the organizers had P10,000. That would more than cover the cost of the venue rental.

Since they did not even bother to feed us, I think we were overcharged. At most, if they had charged us only P50 I don't think I would have complained. That amount sounds fair. But since nothing was served I find myself asking ... where did the money go? And what part of the expenses was shouldered by the organizers?

Imagine this ... P100 is already half a unit in PUP. Was attending that seminar worth half a unit? I guess we will find out when we meet our professor on Saturday.

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