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FAQ: 2016 national and local elections

/ 09:27 PM May 08, 2016

As 54 million Filipinos troop to their respective precincts to cast their votes for the country’s next leaders, INQUIRER.net lists down the most pressing questions regarding the 2016 national and local elections, from what to do when you get to the precinct to how soon until a new president is officially proclaimed.

This year’s Philippine elections is set for May 9, 2016.

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The answers found in this FAQ come from resolutions filed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), press briefings by the poll body and other laws found in the Constitution.

DURING ELECTIONS (MAY 9, 2016)

1.How do I find out if I’m in the right precinct?

Registered voters can find out their precincts prior to going to their polling centers through the Comelec Precinct Finder.

If the Comelec website is still down, you may call them at 525-9296 or text them at 0918-566-8301. You may also reach Comelec through its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

2. Until what time can I cast my vote?

According to Commission on Elections (Comelec) Resolution No. 10088, voting hours are from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. This 2016 elections boast of the longest voting period in Philippine history.

3. Is there an express lane, or any way I can skip the long lines at my precinct?

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There is one, but not just anyone can use it. Section 23 of Comelec Resolution Mo. 10047 states that persons with disabilities, senior citizens, heavily pregnant women, escorted detainee voters and indigenous peoples shall be afforded an express lane and be allowed to vote “as soon as they arrive.” If you do not belong to any of these groups, you must wait your turn to vote.

4. Can I bring a “kodigo” with my chosen candidates inside the precinct?

In various pronouncements, Comelec has encouraged the electorate to prepare their kodigos in order to speed up the voting time.

5. What are the prohibited acts inside my polling precinct?

According to Section 20 of Comelec Resolutions No. 10047 and No. 10088, the following acts are prohibited inside the polling precinct:

  • Bring the ballot, ballot secrecy folder, marking pen or voter’s receipt outside of the polling place
  • Speak with anyone other than persons authorized to be inside the polling place
  • Prepare his or her ballot with using the ballot secrecy folder or to exhibit its contents
  • Fill out his or her ballot accompanies by another, except in the case of an illiterate or person with disability
  • Erase any printing from the ballot or put any distinguishing mark on the ballot
  • Use capturing devices, including, but not limited to, digital cameras, or cellular phones for whatever purpose while inside the polling place
  • Intentionally tear or deface the ballot
  • Disrupt or attempt to disrupt the VCM’s normal operations

6. What is a vote counting machine (VCM)?

A vote counting machine, or VCM, is the device that will be used to tally all ballots in this year’s elections. The Philippines will lease 93,000 VCMs for the 2016 elections from Smartmatic, which provided the precinct count optical scanners (PCOS) in the country’s first two automated elections in 2010 and 2013.

The VCM possesses many security features its predecessor didn’t have, such as source code reviews, ultra violet detectors, digital signatures protocols and a Voter Verification Paper Audit Trail, to ensure that the tallying of votes is as fair and clean as possible.

7. What should I do if the VCM rejects my ballot?

If a voter’s ballot is rejected by the VCM during scanning, the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) shall allow the voter to refeed the ballot four times in four different orientations.

If the ballot is still rejected by the VCM after four tries, the BEI, through a majority vote, will decide if the voter purposely defaced the ballot. If it was found that the voter did not deface the ballot, he or she shall be entitled to one replacement ballot.

These rules can be found in the Comelec Resolution No. 10088.

8. What should I do if my votes in the ballot and the receipt do not match?

The voter should approach the BEI and affix his or her signature at the back of the voter’s receipt. The BEI will then record the incident in the minutes. The receipt will then be attached in the minutes and will not be placed inside the receptacle along with other voter’s receipts.

However, the voter will not be entitled to another ballot. Comelec has also warned voters that “frivolous objections” regarding alleged discrepancies on their voter’s receipts is an election offense.

9. What will happen if I “overvote,” or vote for more candidates than required in a certain position?

The VCM will not count the vote/s in the position/s where there was overvoting.

10. What will happen if I “undervote,” or do not vote enough candidates in a certain position?

The VCM will still count your vote/s.

11. Is there a proper way to shade the circles beside my candidate’s name in the ballot?

Fully shade the circle using the marker provided by Comelec. Unnecessary marks on the ballot should be prevented in order for the VCM to read your ballot properly.

AFTER ELECTIONS

1. How soon after polling precincts close can I find out the results?

Check the INQUIRER’s unofficial election results here: inquirer.net/elections2016. The site will be up by 3:30 p.m. on Monday, May 9, but results will begin to trickle in only after 5 p.m. on the same day.

2. How long will it take till we found ?

In the Smartmatic Meets Inquirer Multimedia forum on April 29, the developers of the VCM said results from precincts could come in as early as 10 minutes after the

3. So after May 9, 2016, the elections are fully done?

According to Comelec Resolution No. 9981, the election period will last until June 8, 2016. The following acts are prohibited until then:

  • Transfer or movement of officers in and employees in the civil service
  • Suspension of elective local officials
  • Bearing firearms or other deadly weapons unless authorized by Comelec
  • Alteration of territory of a precinct or establishment of new precinct
  • Organization of strike forces
  • Use of security personnel and bodyguards by candidates unless authorized by Comelec

4. When is the canvassing and proclamation of winners?

Comelec is in charge of the canvassing and proclamation of winners in the senatorial, congressional, party-list, regional, and provincial elections. The canvassing and proclamation of winners in the said polls will take place from May 13 to 15, 2016.

In 2013, Comelec proclaimed the first six winning senators three days after the election.

5. What is the process of canvassing and proclamation for the president and vice president?

As for president and vice president, the House of Representatives and the Senate will convene a canvassing board when session resumes on May 23.

The Senate will receive the manually accomplished certificates of canvass (COCs) showing the votes for president and vice president from the city and provincial board of canvassers. The COCs are usually counted in the order that the Senate will receive them.

After the declaration of winners, both chambers of Congress will proclaim the president-elect and vice president-elect in a joint session.

In 2010, President Benigno Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay were proclaimed winners four weeks after the May 10, 2010, elections. The actual canvassing took only eight days.

6. What if I or any other Filipino want to protest the election results and have an elected official removed after their proclamation?

There are two ways in which an elected official can be removed after being proclaimed as a winner: election protest and a quo warranto petition.

An election protest can be lodged by a losing candidate who filed a certificate of candidacy and was elected in the same office, while a quo warranto petition can be filed by any voter.

A quo warranto petition and an election protest should be filed within 10 days after the proclamation of the election results.

The Supreme Court en banc shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualification of the president and vice president.

On the other hand, contests against members of the House of Representatives will be heard by the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal while protests against regional, provincial, and city officials should be filed before the Comelec.

7. When will be the terms of the newly-elected president and vice president begin?

The newly elected president and vice president, as well as other officials, will assume office beginning noon on June 30, as stated in the 1987 Constitution. SP

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TAGS: #INQFact, 2016 Philippine Elections, election 2016, Elections 2016, FAQ, frequently asked questions, how to vote
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