ELECTION WATCHDOG SUGGESTS THE PRINTING OF ADDITIONAL BALLOTS TO AVOID DISENFRANCHISEMENT OF VOTERS

ELECTION WATCHDOG SUGGESTS THE PRINTING OF ADDITIONAL BALLOTS TO AVOID DISENFRANCHISEMENT OF VOTERS

MANILA — An election watchdog has recommended the printing of additional ballots so as not to disenfranchise voters in the May 2016 elections.

Rona Ann Caritos of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) said that having spare ballots will ensure that no voters will be excluded from exercising their right of suffrage.

She cited instances in previous polls wherein some ballots were not accepted by the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines but voters were not given extra ballots.

“For enfranchisement, kasi 2010, 2013, one-is-to-one ballot. May mga instances before na ang ballots ay hindi tinanggap ng PCOS machines. Wala namang lukot, tupi, walang dirt, hindi lang talaga tinatanggap,” Caritos explained.

She added, “Hindi naman nabibigyan ng extra ballot ang voter, e. So yun, disenfranchisement yun. Wala namang kasalanan ang voter pero hindi pa din nakaboto.”

The Lente official noted that those that were not able to vote numbered to thousands, based on the reports they received.

She added that in the manual polls, there was a provision to have extra ballots, noting the spare ballots would not be 200 extra ballots but only about 10-15 additional ballots per precinct.

Meanwhile, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Luie Tito Guia said they will look into the recommendation of the group.

But he explained that they implement a 1:1 ratio per voter to prevent production of rogue ballots.

“Ang reason kaya nag 1:1 kami is to prevent rogue ballots from going around. Yun ang ayaw naming mangyari,” Guia said.

He added: “Ngayon, if there is this proposal, pag-aaralan namin. Gusto rin naming malaman ang pinanggagalingan nito.” PNA