The Zamcelco registry of voters PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:38

One of the blocks to a free election in our country is a clean, reliable  voters’ registry for every precinct and I am referring only to “clean” lists.  I don’t have to recount the horror stories of people wanting to carry out their citizen’s right  ( and responsibility) to cast their votes on election day and being frustrated in their good intention. The usual reason for the frustration is that the good-intentioned voter cannot find his/her name in the registry for the polling place which is usually a public school. Is the voter not really listed for the polling place?  Very often this is not the problem.  The names for a polling place are  listed alphabetically and when there is more than one precinct in a polling place the names are again listed alphabetically by precincts. Let’s say that my last name begins with the letter M. I will logically look for  my precinct, look up the list of voters for that precinct and find my name by scanning the M names. However it can happen that the list for a precinct has two places where the M names show up. Not finding my name in the first place where the M names occur, and thinking I have been assigned to another precinct and not having the energy to make the rounds of all the precinct lists looking for my “missing” name,   I can get impatient  and just leave.

When names used to be typed with a typewriter something like this could easily happen. But not in this age of the PC or Apple/Mac.  Perhaps the national Comelec will need a powerful computer with a very large memory for its database of registered voters but a PC certainly will do for a regional office. And a PC has a program for alphabetizing items in a list. I am not computer whiz but I know this. Enter all the names for a precinct list, apply the alphabetizing program and voila! you have the properly listed names.

However, the problem with the Zamcelco qualified voters’ list seems to be of a different kind. Someone I know went to vote in the latest Zamcelco district election in May 2011. He brought his billing statement which shows his name as the  Zamcelco subscriber/member. He brought his driver’s ID to prove he was the person named in the bill. Did he get to cast his vote?  No. He was told that since his name was not in the Zamcelco list of voters he was not qualified to vote. It seems that he is qualified to pay his bill for the electricity he uses every month but he is not recognized as a qualified voter for a Zamcelco election.

I was told that this person should have a valid Zamcelco member’s ID. My husband does not have this ID but his name is found in the list so he got to vote. How does a person get into that list in the first place? And how do we check that this list is updated?

I remember reading somewhere that the turn-out in Zamcelco elections has been about 10-15 % only of those qualified voters for a district. That would mean that the Directors who make up the Board are elected by a very small minority in the district which they represent. Is this the situation we want to continue?  Now that there has been a clean up in the Zamcelco Board we should address next the matter of getting new directors elected in the proper way. --REMEDIOS F. MARMOLEÑO