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6M ballots printed for May polls –Comelec exec

Posted on: February 26, 2010

6M ballots printed for May polls –Comelec exec

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 10:39:00 02/25/2010

Filed Under: Elections, Politics, Eleksyon 2010

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) Six million ballots for the May automated polls were printed at the National printing Office as of Thursday, Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said.

The 6,037,038 ballots will be used in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the provinces of Bohol, Batanes, Palawan, Masbate among others, the NPO said.

“This visit is to inspect the ongoing printing of the ballots to be used in May and to update Congress on the status,” said Larrazabal.

On Wednesday, Comelec Chairman Jose Melo said the poll body authorized the rental of a fifth Kodak printer to accommodate the “slight delay” in printing the remaining ballots, which uses 160 GSM papers imported from Canada.

The main ballot to be used in most parts of the country measures 8.5 inches wide and 25 inches long, containing English and Filipino translations for voting instructions for both national and local positions, said Melo.

To avoid overvoting, names of the candidates are arranged horizontally as per the office they are vying for. Overvoting is when a voter writes down two candidates for one position on the ballot, which might be rejected by the computer.

Names of candidates, especially partylist groups, are arranged in alphabetical order and assigned numbers to aid “recall” among voters when they fill up the ballots.

The ballot also contains the NPO UV ink mark as an additional security feature aside from the five security marks from Comelec and Smartmatic-Total Information Management, namely the custom-made paper, invisible UV ink from Comelec and Smartmatic-TIM, a regular barcode, Comelec’s own security markings and unique precinct-based numbers, which can only be recognized by a specific poll machine, Larrazabal said.

“Each poll machine is precinct-specific and will only scan and read the votes in the ballots assigned to it. If fake ballots are fed to the machine, it would be rejected because they do not have the required security markings there. Such prevents fraud and the dagdag-bawas in the old days,” the official said.

After visiting NPO, Comelec and the solons will head to Laguna to check the laboratory testing on all precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines to be used in the May polls. About 65,000 units have arrived in the country with over 17,000 units in transit.

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