Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Tipping Point

Okey, we have 50 million registered voters of which, only between 80-85% will be able to cast their votes. Analyze your Comelec data and you'll arrive at a figure closer to 40 million voters, plus or minus two, who will actually cast their votes. (10 million obviously, will not be able to vote. So there.)

So, if you expect 40 million to vote, how many of these votes will actually be counted in favor of the candidate? With a plus or minus two, assume that only around 38 million votes will be counted, either manually or electronically.

Meaning, there is an expected 2 million or so votes wasted, either due to ballots being considered "spoiled" due to human error or simply wasted due to human sabotage.

Now, if 40 million votes, that would mean they'll vote in about 250,000 clustered precincts each having 2,000 registered voters each. Picture the physical arrangement of every precinct. One precinct can actually house only 30 or 40 or so seats (one classroom=one precinct). Make that 50 seats, give the Principal the benefit of the doubt that she can actually arrange the room to accommodate 50 seats.

So, in one batch, you have 50 voters lumped in one classroom, voting. Divide 2,000 by 50 and you have 40 batches, all in one precinct. How many minutes will it take for a voter to complete the almost 2 feet long ballot? 8 minutes.

So, if humans are robots and everything goes well, 40 batches will take only 320 minutes which is about 5.2 hours. If the precinct opens at exactly 7 in the morning, expect the entire process to complete by 12pm. Now, give each voter at least 15 minutes each (finding his name, going to the election officer to get his ballot, sitting, thinking whose name to shade and so on and so forth), it would take well over 10 hours to finish the voting. So, the entire thing would probably complete at well, 5pm, just an hour early than what the Comelec expects.

And we know for a fact that not all precincts open AT EXACTLY 7AM. If a precinct loses just ONE HOUR, meaning it opens at 8AM, chances are that 200 voters will surely get disfranchised. For every hour lost, 200 voters get the boot.

Picture that happening in 1,000 precincts nationwide and you have 200,000 disfranchised and extremely angry voters.

Picture that happening in one city, and you have a very irate citizenry. Replicate that in one province,and you have a hot spot. Do that in Mindanao, and you have a situation going.

This is a tipping point which, if you look at it, do not even consider election violence or physical sabotage or jamming of counting machines or what-have-you.

It simply showed how disfranchisement can cause a lot of ruckus and probably lead to a revolt.

That is just casting of votes. Wait if you hear about the COUNTING OF VOTES.

Since the entire voting will end at 6pm, and that's nearly dark in some places, many things might happen, one of them, physical sabotage.

Many classrooms in our country are not so well lighted. Many cheaters collude with teachers during elections and jammers as small as a car key can very well, sabotage the counting. According to Comelec rules, if the machine fails to transmit the data, then, the teachers are expected to resort to manual counting of the ballots.

So, very simple. Even in areas with automated elections, chances are, excuses will be made to justify manual counting. Will that affect tallies in national posts? Yes. Will it affect tallies in local posts? Surely no. Local candidates will not allow that to happen. Yet, expect that also to happen since the names of local candidates are in the bottom rung of the 2-feet ballot.

If a precinct chooses to manually count, that will take at least two days for a minimum sized area and at least four days for those counting in the provincial level. That will surely frustrate people and will increase tensions.

Imagine where counting takes 5 days and nationally televised poll counts such as the PPRCRV, NAMFREL and quick counts of television networks show a national candidate, say Villar, leading. Five days are a lot to cook up something. Quick counts are not official counts, but traditionally, they influence politics more than anything else.

What if, example, these quick counts show varying figures, what then? How will the Comelec resolve that if only a few, say 30% of areas successfully counted the votes electronically while the rest of the 70% resort to manual? That is surely, an expected delay in the entire poll process.

A 30% automated count will not be substantial in a two or three-way fight, especially in the presidential polls. And this is not un-likely to happen. Fact is, many people expect this to happen.

That is the tipping point.

As I wrote some weeks ago, the winner in the May 10, 2010 elections will be the one who will stand up and seize the initiative. The winner will not win by count. No. He will win by default.