MANILA, April 25, 2016— The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting is opposing a Commission on Elections rule on giving voters replacement ballots if vote-counting machines reject their original ballots.
Henrietta de Villa, PPCRV chairperson, disagreed with the new rule, hinting it could cause more problem during the May 9 elections.
“We are not in favor of having ballot replacement because it will be difficult to implement. There could be confusion in the replacement of ballots,” said de Villa.
The church-backed poll watchdog is also wary that the matter on deciding who is at fault for the rejected ballots will be entrusted to the hands of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) alone.
“If there will be ballot replacement, who will decide who was at fault? They said it’s the BEI. But do they have instructions on where they will base their decision on [identifying] who is at fault?” she asked.
De Villa also urged the poll body to clarify if up to how many times replacement ballots can be availed by a voter.
Comelec Resolution No. 10088 states that “there will be no replacement ballot that shall be issued to a voter, whose ballot is rejected by the VCM, except if the rejection of the ballot is not due to the fault of the voter”.
Under the supplemental General Instructions to BEIs of the Comelec, in case of ballot rejection, the BEI shall still allow the voter to re-feed the ballot four times in four different orientations.
If after four tries the ballot is still rejected, the voter shall return the ballot to the BEI, the resolution further stated.
De Villa said they are concerned since the PPCRV is tasked to assign poll watchers to precincts as well as for voters’ education and information activities.
“We man the voters’ assistance desks so we need to be able to answer questions that are referred to us,” she said. (CBCPNews)