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All voters to get sample ballots by April—Comelec

Posted on: March 1, 2010

All voters to get sample ballots by April—Comelec

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 15:02:00 03/01/2010

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Elections

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Monday that it will mail to all 50 million registered voters their information sheets in the form of sample ballots that they could use as guide in voting for the May 2010 polls.

Comelec commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal told reporters that the poll body allotted P12.5 million for the printing of “voters’ information sheets,” which look like a sample ballots. Each copy costs P0.25, Larrazabal said.

“Unlike before when we send out the listing of candidates, Comelec would send out these voters’ information sheets in the form of sample ballots to all 50 million voters nationwide. This is to allow voters to practice shading the ballots so they get the feel of voting in May 10,” said Larrazabal.

The sample ballots would be an exact replica of the official ballots to be used for the May 10 polls and would contain the ovals opposite the pre-printed names of all national and local candidates, except for the barcodes, ultraviolet ink and invisible security markings, said Larrazabal. The ballots would also be printed on regular bond paper, not on the custom 160 GSM paper where the official ballots are being printed on.

It would contain voting instructions in Filipino, such as the proper shading of ovals using a fully or half shade mark, not a cross or a check mark.

The poll official added that the ballots are specific to every municipality or city—the same with the official ballots to be shipped to all provinces by April 25.

Larrazabal said the sample ballots would train voters to prevent “overvoting” and could later be used as their kodigo or guide when voting inside their polling precinct on Election Day.

“The proper shading of ballots is important so that votes are counted. This would also train the voters not to overvote or select candidates beyond the elective seats for a position, say shading 13 candidates for senator instead of 12. If there is an overvote, the machine will not count the votes for the senatorial bets,” said Larrazabal.

Printed on top of the ballot’s front page would be the voter’s name, his address, clustered precinct, polling place or school, municipality or city, district and province to inform voters on where they would vote ahead of the May 10 polls, added Larrazabal.

Meanwhile, Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) officially turned over to Comelec all the remaining 13,000 poll machines Monday morning to complete the delivery of all 82,200 units to the poll body.

Smartmatic-TIM president for Asia-Pacific Cesar Flores told INQUIRER.net the last batch of machines, which arrived at the Bureau of Custioms over the weekend, are in transit to Comelec’s warehouse facility in Cabuyao for stress testing and configuration.

“The machines are loaded in trucks and will be shipped straight to Cabuyao today (Monday). We expect them to arrive this afternoon at the warehouse,” said Flores.

All machines arrived in the country on Saturday, a day before the February 28 shipment deadline stipulated under Comelec’s contract with Smartmatic-TIM.

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