People looking for their precinct number through a list provided by COMELEC. It’s inside a school in Malanday, Valenzuela City Philippines.

Dear COMELEC, may I suggest a simple improvement… next election?

One afternoon, as I’m rushing to get back home not to catch lunch but to avoid the stinging heat of the summer sun (forgot my umbrella), I saw our street filled with a bunch of people all wearing pink. I realized that the campaign season for the Philippine elections is on full blast.

( Don’t worry, this isn’t about how to redesign the streets so that it could be more introvert friendly during election period. )

The next day, I interviewed some of my relatives about their experiences during the previous election. The common response was that they had a hard time finding their precincts because of the sheer volume of voters. I also asked my first-time voter cousin if she knows what to do during the election, she said that she has no idea and is planning to look it up online instead. I decided to go to the school in our barangay where the voting will be held to see how things are going.

Before moving forward, let’s crunch the numbers first. There are:

  • 48 different precincts in our barangay
  • 800 voters per precinct

If all the precincts would have that amount of voters, there will be around 38,400 people during the election. Considering the heat of the summer, the least we can do is to provide a smooth experience, from looking for your name to actually voting. Here are my suggestions.

PART 1 — LOOKING FOR YOUR NAME

List of voters per precinct.

Now from what I got from my interviews, people are actually encouraged to look for their names prior to the actual elections but from what I learned before, people will most likely hold off until the last minute. Imagine if even a thousand people decided to look for their names at the same time, calling it a chaos would be an understatement.

How come people have a hard time finding their names?

List of voters for a certain precinct.

Let’s disregard the durability for now. There are thirteen lists, one for people with disabilities. Each list is a cluster of precincts which contains the names of people, their voting number, their address, and date of birth. I had to look through eight different list before I am able to find my name. I’ve managed to observe some people and they had to look through an average of five lists before they found their names. By the way, this is the only list for the whole barangay.

The problem was that since the list are divided per precinct, you have to guess which list to look first. Here’s my suggestion:

  • FOCUS: I arranged it alphabetically, taking into consideration the most common surnames* in the Philippines which starts with the letters A, B, C, D, G, M, O, S, T, and Y for better volume allocation. Dividing it this way will lessen the necessary steps done by the user in order to complete an action. It’s like minimizing the number of clicks. Instead of randomly clicking through different buttons, users will just look for the button that has the first letter of their surnames.
  • I will also move the map next to it so that only people looking for their names will go towards the lists.
  • SIMPLICITY: The original list contains the voter’s name, voting number, address, and date of birth. I revised it and just included the names with the corresponding precinct number. I believe the address and the date of birth shouldn’t be there to lessen the time a person will spend reading their precinct numbers.
  • CONSIDERATION: I placed the list for the PWD (People With Disabilities) near the bottom corner instead on the top corner for easier reach. As I’ve learned before, we should always design for the extremes.

I understand that such changes couldn’t easily be implemented specially now that the election is just few weeks away but hopefully this will create awareness about how we can better design the way we present information. I was planning to print the revised list myself so I looked online to see if there’s a downloadable list of voters but unfortunately, I couldn’t find any.

I’ve researched online and found that COMELEC actually has an online precinct finder ( YEY! ). It’s definitely a faster way to find your precinct number but again, not all people have the access to such technology.

UPDATE: Due to a series of unfortunate events, I wasn’t able to do PART 2 :(


  • I googled for top surnames in the country and found this list. I’m looking for a more legit one from the NSO but couldn’t find any.

Thanks!

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