Election Day: What it’s like to be a poll inspector for a day

May 13, 2019 - 11:50 AM
Two women bringing election paraphernalia (The STAR/Miguel de Guzman)

It is the big day for elections inspectors, known as electoral board members, on Monday, May 13 as Filipinos flock to polling precincts to cast their ballot.

Lawyer Gregorio Larrazabal, former commissioner of the Commission on Elections, on Twitter gave a picture of the day of a typical electoral board member.

Electoral board members serve as the inspectors and testers of vote-counting machines and the official ballots of every precinct.

Larrazabal wrote the duties of board members start early in the morning at around 4 a.m. Voting time is usually from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“At this time, members of the Electoral Board are at the office of the municipal/city treasurer to get the official ballots to be used today. They will then proceed to the city/municipal Comelec office to get the EDCVL and other election paraphernalia w/c they’ll use,” he wrote at 3:59 a.m. in a Twitter thread.

EDCVL or Election Day Computerized Voters’ List is the computerized list of registered voters.

“After getting the election documents and supplies needed for today, the members of the Electoral Board then proceed to the voting center where their polling station is located,” he added.

They can also perform the final testing and sealing of official ballots in front of poll watchers at 5:30 a.m. if they were unable to do so prior to Election Day due to technical or supply issues, Larrazabal wrote.

Ballots should have been tested and sealed from May 7 to 10.

Who are the members of the electoral board?

The specific functions of the electoral board member every election season are stated in Comelec Resolution 10460.

The EB, also called Board of Election Inspectors and Special Board of Election Inspectors, is basically composed of three members—a chairperson, a poll clerk and a third member.

These people have already been appointed by election officers last January.

Public school teachers are normally chosen according to the resolution. One of them should also be trained or capable in information technology as certified by the Department of Science and Technology.

Part of section 5 stated that female inspectors may not be assigned in high risk areas or places “likely to cause gender-based violence, or are likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm, difficulty or suffering.”

The powers and functions of the EB, based on section 19, are:

  • To ensure that ballots and vote-counting machines are sealed,
  • To ensure that paraphernalia inside ballot packages are complete,
  • To ensure voters can be identified via the Election Day Computerized Voters’ List, and
  • To oversee the voting and counting period throughout the election period.

They “act as deputies of the Commission in the supervision and control of the conduct of elections in the polling place.”

On May 13 or Election Day, EB members are required to meet at 5 a.m. and make sure the vote counting machines and ballot boxes are already in the polling precinct.

They are also the ones who arrange or set up these voting sites.