9/24/2020
We wouldn't think that far ahead

This is why I shouldn't leave the essays in my head for too long.

For months I've had this thought bubble about how this pandemic would affect the elections. Yes, it's still over a year away, but if this thing is going to last for as long as it wants to, we'll have to think about it.

I don't know about you, but my election precinct is a clusterfuck. Perhaps the biggest barangay in my home city come together in one elementary school - or so it seems, because it gets really crowded. It's difficult to find where exactly you'll cast your vote, and it's just as difficult to find your queue, and it's just as difficult to be in the queue yourself, because you can't see where you're walking (or standing), and you'll be dizzy if you're not armed with a fan. No wonder so many people find voting to be a chore. No wonder you really need your palms greased.

In these times of social distancing and face masks, that simply would not fly. I mean, this government has been breaking up any public gathering, no matter how much distance between people there are. (They get arrested, to boot.) It wouldn't look good for them to then allow people to come together in a really tight spot. I mean, civic duties, but you know the government.

I've always wonder why there aren't more precincts serving my city. I live - put this in the past tense, for now - in a pretty big subdivision, big enough to be a separate barangay. Heck, the city government put an indoor events facility within our gates. That can be a voting precinct, right? Apparently it requires people to come together and petition this split to whoever's in charge, but it doesn't seem to have occurred to our homeowner's association. That, or they're trying to keep close ties with whoever's in city hall.

Elsewhere in the world, Hong Kong has postponed its elections; it was originally set to be held earlier this month. And the United States, of course, has this ongoing argument about how the vote - which is set to happen this November - will be held. At least there's this system of early voting and mail-in voting there, depending on which state you find yourself in. Here, we all have only one day to vote. Thirteen hours, to be exact.

Perhaps it's too late for the Commission on Elections to consider similar schemes for the country. We've spent a good amount of time thinking about ensuring the accuracy of the vote count to the point that we haven't thought about making sure more people get to actually vote. Mail-in ballots? It's a good idea, but our postal system is abysmal. Okay, ill-equipped. Abysmally ill-equipped. Early voting? There is the practical question of allocating resources for a longer vote period - setting up the schools, paying your teachers, that sort of thing. Of course, I won't blame you if you say they're not working on this because it leaves less opportunities to, well, grease palms.

That, and it's not something people would think of. I mean, this pandemic has led to a massive contraction of the economy and a lot of uncertainty about our future. Also, we're bored and restless - but not restless enough to go to the streets, whatever the police may say - but there is a lot of pent-up anger, about the handling of this health crisis and how this government seems to be more concerned with staying in power and giving its friends preferential treatment under the guise of "healing as one". We wouldn't think that far ahead; that's what anger does.

And then a congressman floats the idea of suspending the elections in 2022.

That was supposed to be where my essay ends. Bonus for me, I can say I've thought ahead, even if nobody really reads these things.

This is why I shouldn't leave the essays in my head for too long.

And your responses...

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