On the Papal Plane from Azerbaijan in 2016, Pope Francis was asked what advice he would give to Americans as they prepared for a presidential election in November.
“During political campaigns, I never say a word,” he said. “The people are sovereign. I would only say, study the proposals well, pray, and choose with your conscience.”
It’s timely advice for Filipinos who are only days away from casting their votes for senators, mayor, vice-mayor, governor, vice-governor, councilors, and party list representative in the 2019 national and local elections. An estimated 61 million registered voters are set to troop to their respective polling precincts on May 13. (Read: Gear up to be a PPCRV poll watcher!)
Make your vote count! Here are five My Pope-approved tips on how to be a responsible voter:
Know your candidates.
Catchy campaign jingles and slick TV ads don’t always translate to worthy public servants. Make your choice on whom to vote for by reading about candidates’ personal lives, achievements in office, and advocacies through reliable sources. Tune in to TV debates to see how they answer and interact with moderators, fellow candidates, and a live audience. Party list names and acronyms can be confusing; research on the people behind them, the sectors they represent, and their track record.
Make a list.
And check it several times! Though polling precincts provide a complete list of candidates, having your own checklist helps you cast your ballot efficiently. Deciding which candidates to vote for on the spot may lead to errors in your ballot—and there are no second chances or extra ballots to spare.
Identify your polling precinct.
As of writing, the Commission on Elections’ (COMELEC) Precinct Finder on its website is being improved, but you can always call the COMELEC hotline (02) 526-7769 or email email@example.com for assistance.
Polling precincts open at 6 am and close at 6 pm, so whether you show up first thing in the morning, or drop by in the final hours, the important thing is to be there to cast your vote. Bring your Voter’s ID or a valid ID on the day of elections, so poll watchers can help you find your polling area.
Convince others to vote.
Being a responsible voter involves reminding people that voting is a right, a privilege, and a responsibility, and skipping it means missing a chance to make a difference in the country. As Pope Francis reminds us, “An authentic faith always implies a deep desire to change the world.”