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Guard your ballots, Comelec tells voters

Posted on: July 20, 2009

Guard your ballots, Comelec tells voters
July 17, 2009 14:24:00
Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) voter education campaign will center on how the electorate can guard their ballots, especially with the automated system in place, a spokesman for the poll body said.

Voters should make sure that they get only blank, unshaded ballots, because with automated counting, this will the only opportunity for fraud, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said.

“Ballot security is a paramount concern in the upcoming automated elections. Ballots serve as primary source document and reflect the voter’s intent. So we will educate voters on how to cast their votes and ultimately, how to guard their ballots to make sure their votes are counted and untampered,” Jimenez told INQUIRER.net on Friday.

“Tampering of votes will happen not during the computerized counting of the ballot votes but before ballots are fed to the machines,” he said.

Jimenez said cheating “operators” could coerce members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) to fill up ballots.

He also maintained that the counting machines were secure enough to guard against cheating and would not accept fake ballots.

The citizen’s arm of the 2010 elections, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), will help guard the ballots during printing, shipment, distribution final sealing at the precinct, actual use on Election Day, and return to Comelec offices, PPCRV Chairperson Henrietta de Villa said.

Last week, the Comelec signed a P7.2-billion contract with the Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) consortium for the lease of 82,200 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

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