(This list appeared originally on www.bagongbotante.com)
Are you ready to vote?
1. Have you decided what you want out of these elections? – This is the most important question of all. When you have finally decided what you want to see after May 14, 2007, then you can more intelligently make your choices. It’s simple: pick the candidate you think will deliver what you want to see after the elections? On the national level, do you want to see any government policies changed? Then vote for the one who sees things the way you do. He’ll be your representative in government, right? So you better make sure your representative thinks the same way you do. If he doesn’t, then he’s not going to do what you want him to do, he’s not going to fight for what you believe in, he’s not going to help you, your family, your community, and your country.
2. Have you canvassed your options? – When you buy anything of value, don’t you spend hours and hours at the mall trying to find the best deal? If you’re looking for clothes, you check the fit, the way it’s made, how comfortable it is. If you’re looking for a gadget, you check for features, you check for durability, you check for style. In other words, you look for value for your money. Elections should be the same. Does the candidate offer you value for your vote? Or is he all anger and promises and fancy packaging?
3. Have you exercised due diligence? – Due diligence is just a fancy way of saying have you done your homework? Sometimes, things are not always what they seem to be. In order to avoid being fooled by a candidate’s outward appearance, look deeper and find out what makes him tick? Or maybe, you want to find out who puts money in his pocket? Do your homework, if you don’t want your future to go to the dogs. Ask around. Maybe some people have a better idea. Maybe they know something you don’t. Sometimes, when we see something that looks good, we’re so overjoyed that we don’t bother to ask others about it. Take cellphones for instance. A brand new cellphone always looks good in advertisements and posters. But can you really tell from a picture how easy it’ll be to use? Can you tell from an advertisement how heavy 6.1 ounces can get in your pocket? The same goes for candidates. You can’t tell just from looking at them what they can do and what they’re capable of. So poke around; examine his platform, examine his track record, examine his life as closely as you can. You might learn something you didn’t know about that candidate you’re almost ready to pick. And who knows? You might even discover something that’ll change your mind.
4. So, you’ve made up your mind, eh? Do you know where you’re going to vote? – Don’t wait until election day to find out what precinct you’re assigned to. And don’t lie around like Juan Tamad waiting for the answers to fall out of the sky and onto your lap. Get your butt moving and find out where you’re supposed to vote. Go to the Office of the local COMELEC Election Officer. If you can’t, go on-line at www.bagongbotante.com and let your mouse do the walking.
5. Have you prepared your cheat sheet? – Write down the names of the candidates you intend to vote for. Remember, you’re voting for 12 Senators, 1 Congressman, and 1 Party-List Group. Plus, you get to vote for Governor, Vice Governor, Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Mayor, Vice-Mayor, and Members of the Sangguniang Bayan. Whew! Depending on where you live, you might have to vote for almost thirty positions! Can you imagine how long you’d take if you had to make all those decisions at the polling place?
6. Have you got your other election day props ready? – An identification card, just in case someone doesn’t believe that you are who you say you are; and two ball-point pens, just so you don’t have to worry about having a pen that you’re not comfortable using. Having these things with you should make you ready for almost anything.
7. Have you tied a string around your right forefinger to remind yourself that you need to get inked? – Getting your finger stained with indelible ink is the best to show that on May 14, 2007, you were a responsible citizen who exercised his priceless right to vote. Now who would want to forget something like that? Not you, for sure. So tie that string around your finger, or write it down on a post-it and stick it on your forehead, or make a mental note; ANYTHING, just don’t forget to go get inked.
If you answered no to any of these questions, you are NOT ready to vote. Go back to step one. Think of this as a pre-flight check. If your pilot skips one item on his checklist and the plane crashes, you are going to be so pissed. So, if you skip one item on this checklist, and the plane comes crashing down, you know who you can get pissed at. Yourself.
If you answered all these questions YES, then you’re ready to vote. Now go make a difference.