No voter should be disenfranchised for lack of ballots.
The statement came from Bohol Election supervisor Atty. Jerome Brilliantes over the wakes of controversy roiled by voters of precincts 00001A and 0005A of Poblacion Cortes who came to their polling place only to be told that there are no more ballots.
As early as 9:30 May 9, the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) from the clustered precincts told around 100 voters to just stand by and await for further instructions as the shortage has been reported to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).
Clustered precinct supervisor Ernesto Concon said the BEI has reported the matter to the COMELEC and have been told to wait for developments.
While voters are on standby, speculations as to the additional ballots coming in, which allegedly would come from Manila, would be on a plane flight soonest, have been rife.
As of 1:25 PM, the BEI in the named precincts have yet to hear from COMELEC on developments.
By 4:00 however, in an interview with COMELEC Brilliantes at the sidelines of the Canvassing and Consolidation Systems activation of the Provincial Election Board at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Session Hall, Atty Brilliantes said he has instructed the concerned BEIs what to do.
While confirming that Vote Counting Machines have all been programmed to receive only ballots allocated to it, Brilliantes said he has instructed concerned BEIs to adopt a strategy to allow the voters to vote.
“We have instructed the BEIs to get the names of these voters and send them to a nearby clustered precinct to vote there,” he said.
As to the possible problem of a voter on a cross precinct voting, COMELEC hinted it can be done.
For now, we have instructed the BEIs [of nearby precincts] to allow the entry of five voters from another precincts along with five of their resident voters so they could not be disenfranchised, he said.
COMELEC also assured that there is enough ballots as the COMELEC makes sure of this.
It did not say however how come the delivery of ballots for the subject precinctÂ did not tally with the actual number of voters. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)