Comelec says only one replacement ballot will be given to a voter whose ballot has been rejected by the VCM

Comelec says only one replacement ballot will be given to a voter whose ballot has been rejected by the VCM

MANILA — Only one replacement ballot will be given to a voter whose first ballot has been rejected by the vote counting machine (VCM) on Election Day, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said.

“There is a resolution for replacement ballots. I don’t think that was overturned. There will still be replacement ballots,” said Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon in an interview.

She noted that the commission en banc has decided to give a voter a replacement ballot, in case the initial ballot given to him/her was not accepted by the VCM.

“Only one replacement ballot. After that, if it still does not work, then the voter just has to make sure that incident is recorded in the minutes of voting of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs),” Guanzon explained.

On the other hand, Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez noted that they will have a cut-off point as far as giving voters another ballot.

“If the ballot supply reaches a certain point, they will no longer issue replacement ballots. This will avoid the possibility of having ballot shortage,” he added.

Jimenez noted that they are leaving the decision to the BEIs on whether they will give a voter a replacement ballot or not.

“We want the decision to be at the hands of the panel and not just in the hands of one individual,” he said.

Comelec Resolution No. 10088 states, “there will be no replacement ballot that shall be issued to a voter, whose ballot is rejected by the vote counting machine (VCM), except if the rejection of the ballot is not due to the fault of the voter”.

On the other hand, Guanzon revealed that frivolous complaints of voters will be considered as an election offense.

“Having frivolous objections (as an election offense) would be fine. That’s provided under the Omnibus Election Code (OEC),” she added.

Under Section 261 (z)(11) of the OEC, it is prohibited for any person who, for the purpose of disrupting or obstructing the election process or causing confusion among the voters, propagates false and alarming reports or information regarding any matter relating to the general conduct of the election.

But, the poll body official said those who would file their objections before the BEIs regarding the contents of their voting receipts could not be considered as frivolous complaints.

“If they say that their receipt did not print the candidates they voted for, that is not a frivolous objection if, according to our General Instructions, the voters sign at the back of their receipt and it will be (attached) and written by the BEI in the Minutes of Voting,” Guanzon added.

Based on Comelec Resolution No. 10088, voters making frivolous complaints after casting their votes can be charged with an election offense. PNA/