THE mock election in Dumaguete City encountered various problems from low turnout of voters to failure in transmitting voting results. But Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials in Negros Oriental says the exercise was successful as they learned lot of things on how to improve the system to make the May 13 midterm elections successful.
Two schools – Camanjac Elementary School and City Central Elementary School – were used for the exercise.
The voting precincts were opened at 7 a.m with the first voter from barangay Poblacion Uno stepping in a few minutes before 8 a.m.
Renyboy Alay, however, did not immediately mark his ballot. He went to the precinct chairman and questioned the names printed in the ballot.
“I don’t know the people in the ballot. I was told by our barangay captain to come here, I did not know that I would be voting for the election,” Alay said.
The chairman explained that the names in the ballot were of foreign singers and actors and not actual candidates as the exercise was just a dry run.
Voting was supposed to end at 10 a.m. but since only 10 voters came, the Comelec decided to extend the mock poll for another 30 minutes.
When no one came, Comelec asked members of the media and other individuals present to cast ballots.
The number went up to 49 but four of the ballots were rejected due to marks and ink blots detected by the PCOS machine.
In Camanjac, a ballot was also rejected when the voter did not shade the circle well. The PCOS machine thrice rejected the ballot. It was finally accepted after the voter thoroughly shaded the circles beside the names of the “candidates” he voted for.
Lawyer Eddie Aba, Comelec Provincial Supervisor said the mock election aimed to test the PCOS machine and give voters a refresher on how to use the vote count device. Aba said that voters must understand that they only have a single chance to vote. One ballot for each voter must be filled up correctly.
Voters have to strictly follow the number of candidates one has to vote for each position. For example, in voting for senators a voter can only shade 12 circles.
“We have to remember that more means nullification of your votes on a particular position. If the instruction says 12, shade 12 or even less the number required. But if you shade 13, not a single vote in that position will be counted,” he said.
Aba also advised the voters to handle their ballots carefully, if the ballot is crumpled or there will be smudges in it, the machine will automatically reject the ballot. In shading the circles, voters must make sure that it will not blot because this can also cause the PCOS machine to reject a ballot. /Correspondent Carine M. Asutilla