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Comelec, Smartmatic sign pact on 77,000 ballot boxes

Posted on: February 2, 2010

Comelec, Smartmatic sign pact on 77,000 ballot boxes

By Cathy C. Yamsuan, Anna Valmero
Philippine Daily Inquirer, INQUIRER.net
First Posted 15:44:00 02/01/2010

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010, Government Contracts

MANILA — The Commission on Elections and the Smartmatic firm signed a P243-million contract for the delivery of 77,000 ballot boxes between March and April.

The ballot boxes will be used in the May 10, 2010 elections that will use scannable ballots and counting machines.

Comelec Chairman Jose A.R. Melo said the Smartmatic was chosen to provide the ballot boxes to ensure that the lids of the boxes would be the right fit for automated counting machines.

Smartmatic Asia president Cesar Flores said the boxes would have transparent windows on the sides.

Smartmatic bagged last year the P7-billion contract to provide and operate some 80,000 ballot scanning and counting machines to automate the elections in May.

Smartmatic is now in the process of printing over 50 million scannable ballots at the National Printing Office premises.

The May elections will be the country’s first automated polling and canvassing of votes.

MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) signed Monday a deal with Smartmatic for manufacture of 77,000 ballot boxes to be used for the May elections.

Comelec chairman Jose Melo said the deal—worth P243, 367, 740—was awarded to Smartmatic to streamline the production of the ballot boxes and to ensure that the poll machines would fit the lid on top of the ballot boxes.

“Comelec has the authority under the government procurement code to award the contract to a competent bidder. We also eliminate the possibility of preventing defects in ballot box production if we had to consign the production to another firm,” said Melo.

Smartmatic Asia-Pacific president Cesar Flores said in another interview the ballot boxes would be made opaque but would have translucent windows on several sides so voters can see the ballots scanned by the machines would fall on the box but the shaded names of candidates would not be visible.

Flores added the ballot boxes—which would be made of polypropylane plastic material—would be produced “immediately after the contract signing” in their Taiwan facility and would be shipped to the country between mid-March and April 19.

The official added that the ballot boxes would have a retractable lid or opening that would receive the scanned paper ballots and would immediately close once the precinct count optical (PCOS) machines are removed so that the ballot boxes are sealed when transported from polling precincts to canvassing centers.

The ballot box production is a separate contract with the P7.2 billion automation deal won by Smartmatic-Total Information Management which covers production of 82,200 PCOS machines.

Meanwhile, the boxes used for manual balloting would be stored for future use in barangay elections or plebiscites, said Melo.

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