A First-Time Voter's Guide: What to Expect + How to Prep for Election Day

Here's an easy step-by-step guide for first-time voters.
by Leika Golez   |  Mar 30, 2022
Image: (LEFT TO RIGHT) Instagram/juliabarretto, Twitter/annecurtissmith
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In 2021, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) recorded an all-time high of 67 million registered voters—over five million of whom are new registrants. If you’re one of them, congrats! We’re so happy that the youth of today are exercising their right to vote. Of course, it’s completely normal to feel a little anxious about casting your vote for the very first time, so we’ve prepared a handy step-by-step guide to help ease your nerves. Check it out below and bookmark this page for your convenience! 

Before Election Day 

1. Mark your calendar. 

The 2022 election will take place on May 9, 2022, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. We suggest planning your schedule and transpo arrangements beforehand so you can arrive at your precinct as early as possible. 

2. Contact COMELEC if you have concerns regarding your voter status.

To verify your voter registration status and precinct number, visit the online Precinct Finder.  Regardless, we suggest keeping the acknowledgement receipt from your registration day just in case. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your registration status, you can view COMELEC’s contact details here

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3. Research about the candidates.

Remember: You’re voting for the next leaders of our country, so it’s important to do your homework diligently. Apart from watching debates, interviews, and campaign rallies, you can also follow various media outlets and poll watchdogs to stay updated. For instance, the Vote Pilipinas website contains detailed and comprehensive profiles of each presidential and vice presidential candidate.  

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4. Prepare a list of your chosen candidates. 

Once you’ve decided, compile all your chosen names in one list so you have an easy cheat sheet to reference later on. You won’t be allowed to use your phone in the voting area, so bring a hard copy of your list come Election Day. For the 2022 elections specifically, here are the maximum number of candidates you can vote for per position: 

President: one (1) candidate

Vice President: one (1) candidate

Senator: 12 candidates

House of Representatives: one (1) candidate

Mayor: one (1) candidate

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Vice mayor: one (1) candidate

Party-list: one (1) group

Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Sangguniang Panglungsod, and Sangguniang Bayan: Depends on your area 

During Election Day 

1. Undergo the health screening. 

Upon arriving at the polling station, you have to get your temperature checked and fill up a contact tracing form. Don’t forget to bring your face mask and vaccination card! If you have a fever or other COVID-19 symptoms, you’ll be redirected to an isolation polling place where you can still cast your vote. 

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2. Identify your precinct and sequence numbers.

Following the health screening, head to the Voter’s Assistant Desk to get your precinct and sequence numbers. Afterwards, find your designated room and give your name, precinct and sequence numbers to the Electoral Board. You will then receive a blank ballot, a ballot secrecy folder, and a sanitized marking pen

 

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3. Accomplish your ballot.

Bring out your list of candidates and completely shade the oval before the name of your chosen candidates. If you want to be extra prepared, you can view a sample ballot here. Voting for more candidates than what’s listed on your ballot will invalidate your vote, but you can always abstain or vote under the maximum limit. As we mentioned earlier, you are not allowed to use your gadgets or show your ballot to fellow voters while in the voting area. Double check your ballot to ensure that you haven’t left any mistakes or unnecessary marks. 

4. Cast your ballot.

Make sure to keep your ballot inside your secrecy folder before you feed it to the Vote Counting Machine. Also, wait for the machine to fully process your ballot to ensure that it’s been counted properly. Afterwards, check your voter’s receipt and verify if all your chosen candidates are accurate. If you spot any inconsistencies, approach an Electoral Board member so that they can formally record the errors. If your receipt is correct, drop your receipt into the receipt box and have your right forefinger marked with indelible ink. 

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And voilà, you have officially voted for the first time! Now, you can wait for the results patiently and rest easy that you did your duty as a responsible and informed Filipino citizen. Good luck! 

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Leika Golez
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