BOSTON – Chosen by the US State Department to observe the 2012 presidential election, Filipino blogger Cocoy Dayao had a first hand look at America’s electoral process.
The State Department gave observers like him front row seats to Barack Obama and Mitt Romney's campaign events and a closer look at Super Tuesday.
“It was a great learning experience like probably we can apply a lot of things they're doing here, learn from it and apply it our own elections. No matter how bad we sometimes think of the Philippine process is in electing our leaders, I'm quite proud that people go out to vote and we don't have to force people to vote,” said Dayao.
The voter turnout in Tuesday's election is shaping up to be lower than 2008. With 97 percent of precinct results in, initial figures show about 118.5 million or about 54 percent turned out to vote Tuesday, much lower than the 135 million voters in 2008.
Meantime, election days are declared as a non-working holiday in the Philippines - voter turnout averages from 70 to 80 percent voter turnout
Dayao says the US can also learn a thing or two from the Philippine electoral process
“I hope Americans learn to appreciate their democracy that, for a Filipino, it's something that we do, it's something everybody goes out of their way to do it. In here, you have to pull them just to vote so I guess, maybe they could have no work that day so people can actively vote,” he said.
Dayao says the Philippine presidential elections can be a circus with several candidates vying for Malacanang. He says the Philippines could learn from the US two-party system.
“I would really love that our country could have ideological distinctions so people could really pick on who the right person is. I guess we will get to that stage someday,” he said.
Though he is an outsider taking a peek at the US presidential elections, Dayao says he was moved by Tuesday's election results.
“I was actually thrilled. I would say thrilled that the Republicans didn't win. I guess that people understand that president Obama takes care of people whether they're old, or young and those are his policies, his healthcare program and all that,” he said.
Dayao is flying back to the Philippines and he will be blogging about his close encounters with former governor Romney and president re-elect Obama