There is something that the Philippines should envy about the election process in the U.S. For my entire life I have just voted twice. The first time was in 1975 when Senator Ninoy Aquino ran against Imelda Marcos and her ticket for the Batasang Pambansa. I voted for Ninoy but he was cheated out of his victory. I have never voted in any election then.
The second time was in the U.S. Presidential election this Tuesday, November 4, 2008. The line in the polling precinct where I voted was about 20 meters long, but the process was orderly. You can vote by party affiliation by blackening the oblong in the ballot box or you can mix and match your choice by blackening an oblong opposite the candidate name.
If you opt for block voting, you have to darken only one oblong and all the candidates of the party are voted for from President, Vice President, Senators and Congressmen.
Next you are required to vote for non-patisan candidates like State Supreme Court Justices, District Court Judges and even School Board Officials.
In Michigan, the ballot also carries a referendum on legalizing marijuana production for medical use and another referendum on “embryonic cell research”.
After filling up your ballot you insert it into a machine where it is being scanned and tabulated while pushing your ballot inside the machine.
Few hours after closing you know who wins the election and you find the losing candidate conceding his defeat.
The U.S. is composed of 50 States but she can manage the elections so smoothly. Though there was that famous “hanging chad” controversy in Florida that glued the entire nation on the outcome of the election in 2004, but such was resolved in few days. This year’s election was model in its orderliness.. The Philippines land mass is less than that of California and I could venture that it has more electorate than the Philippines but our canvass would last for three weeks to two months, and the nation hold her breath for the outcome, which more often is incredible to say the least.
State SC Justices and district court judges have tenure and have be to voted upon by the electorate. This way, these Justices cannot abuse their authority because they can be voted out of office in 4 years.
The Philippines can copy the U.S. experience if we really want to strengthen our institutions and free ourselves from the manipulation of our politicians and their corrupt cohorts.