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Ballot has new look—Comelec

Posted on: February 3, 2010

Ballot has new look—Comelec
February 03, 2010 15:19:00
Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has revised the look of the special paper ballots to be used in the May elections to simplify the casting of ballots and to prevent over voting, a poll official said.

Under the new ballot approved by the Comelec en banc Tuesday, the pre-printed names of the candidates per position would be in a horizontal block to be arranged in alphabetical order and with corresponding numbers. Below this first group is another set of names of candidates for another position also arranged in a horizontal block but with different colored borderlines, said Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal, who also chairs the steering committee on automation.

The official added that the candidates would be assigned their corresponding numbers aside from being alphabetically arranged to help cut the time in shading the ovals opposite the names instead of reading the whole list of candidates.

“By having the names arranged in a horizontal style similar to reading a book, the new ballot was easier to fill up and we believe this better prevent overvoting than the old style,” said Larrazabal.

“The older ball face configuration – which features the pre-printed names of the candidates per position in vertical columns from left to right – had unused free spaces and resulted in a longer ballot of 29 inches. When we arranged the names in horizontal format, the ballot was a bit shorter at 25 to 26 inches,” he added.

To guide voters, Larrazabal said the ballots would also contain guidelines stating that a voter “can vote for not more than one candidate” for president, vice president and partylist and “not more than 12 candidates” for senator.

Previously, the instructions read as “Vote for 1 candidate” for president, vice president and partylist and “Vote for 12 candidates” for senators. This could be misread as an instruction for voting the candidates, with “1” as the designated number so the instructions had to be rephrased, said the poll official.

The ballots will also include the names of candidates with unresolved cases and exclude the names of bets who have withdrawn their candidacies, said Larrazabal.

Presently, Comelec is undergoing reverification of the certified list of candidates it submitted to Smartmatic-TIM for configuration in the automation and canvassing system.

The Comelec will print 50 million ballots for the May automated polls.

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