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Comelec: All ballots with security marks

Posted on: February 22, 2010

Comelec: All ballots with security marks

By Anna Valmero, Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
First Posted 12:31:00 02/22/2010

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010

MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday said all ballots it ordered printed, including the 1.7 million for use in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), have the necessary security markings and are fit for use in the May elections.

Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal made the statement in a radio interview, in reaction to a Philippine Daily Inquirer report quoting Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Father Joe Dizon of Kontra Daya, and other sources which said that the ballots for ARMM did not have the government-mandated markings of the National Printing Office (NPO).

ARMM consists of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao Del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

Larrazabal said the 1.7 million ballots that were printed have the UV ink and bar codes. These security features are the ones that the machines would check to verify the authenticity of the ballots, he said in a radio interview.

“Their point of comparison is manual elections—that when there is doubt about the authenticity of the ballot, the NPO will go there and check and say if their security marking is there. But now, we have to realize that the machine itself will determine if a ballot is fake, because if it is, it won’t be accepted by the machine,” Larrazabal said in the radio interview.

Larrazabal explained that there was a proposal to put a two-D (two dimensional) bar code in each ballot as an “additional marking” of the NPO.

“The problem is you have to include the software of the printer. It’s very time consuming to include that…meaning to say that when you print out the ballots it will breed a lot of problems,” he said.

“Probably, those who are saying otherwise do not fully understand the security features and the way the election will be done,” he added.

In any case, Larrazabal said, all printed ballots will be open to the scrutiny of political parties to verify their authenticity.

In a separate phone interview, he said that all printed ballots “will be verified and we will invite all political parties before they are sealed and transported.”

The official added that representatives of political parties and watchdog groups may also be present during printing to check.


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