Comelec-Bohol awaits ballot receipt direction

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Comelec-Bohol awaits ballot receipt direction

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Bohol election officers have to wait for another instruction as to how the poll precinct system should go, while the Commission on Elections and the Supreme Court differ in the stand on ballot receipts printing.

Provincial Election Supervisor Jerome Brillantes expressed that the change of instructions resulting from the Supreme Court’s nod on the petitions of senatorial candidates Richard Gordon and Greco Belgica for Comelec to print ballot receipts.

While trainings of teachers who will serve as Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) are ongoing, Brillantes explained they still could not proceed with the additional briefing on the ballot receipts printing, considering that the Comelec-national prefers to activate the voter receipt feature of the vote-counting machines (VCM) for the May 9 elections.

Brillantes, however, said there is still enough time to redo the trainings of BEIs in Bohol.

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They just need to get the final instructions from Comelec-national.

He said a number of teachers to serve as BEIs had already completed the training prior to the vote receipts printing dilemma and they will have to attend to another seminar again for the changes.

The dilemma cropped up after the Supreme Court granted on March 8 the Gordon’s petition for Comelec to print ballot receipts to make sure the votes are counted and transmitted.

This is amid fear that election fraud could go hi-tech by manipulating the PCOS machines.

However, Comelec announced late last week after deliberations and consultations, there is no safeguards yet to save printed ballot receipts from being used in vote-buying.

There is no law yet punishing anyone from taking the vote receipts out of the polling precincts.

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In the absence of legal ground, the BEIs will have a hard time preventing anyone from bringing the receipt with them out of the polling precinct and show the document to other people.

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This is aside from the additional two hours and 10 minutes “in the total voting process” on top of the time that the BEIs will take to “change the paper roll of the VCM during voting hours”.

Comelec-national prefers to enable the onscreen verification feature of the VCM wherein the voter will have a maximum of 15 seconds to check if their votes are accurately interpreted by the VCM “before being dropped into the ballot box”

Comelec officials also assured that it is more manageable to address concerns on possible peeking of cast votes with onscreen viewing than the risk of voters not prevented from taking the vote receipts outside the polling precincts.

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