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Voters told: Shade whole ovals, do not `overvote’

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 17:31:00 02/09/2010

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010, Politics

MANILA, Philippines?The right way to vote in the May elections is by fully shading the ovals opposite the printed names of candidates in the ballot, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Tuesday.

Comelec legal chief Ferdinand Rafanan also said voters should not ``overvote??, or voting more than is necessary. For instance, if one is voting for the President, the voter should only shade one oval opposite the candidate he?s voting for. If he shades more than one oval for the President, the counting machine will invalidate the vote for the position.

Rafanan made the points during a voters? education workshop here attended by 30 Nueva Vizcaya leaders in partnership with the Comelec?s citizens? arm Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).

He said that voters must learn these two steps so that the poll machines would count their votes.

?The most important thing that the voter should learn in the automated polls is to shade the ballots correctly and not to overvote. The manner of voting is not so very much hinged on the operation of the machine. The voter?s only interaction with the machine is when he feeds his accomplished ballot in the machine scanner for counting after which he should see it go inside the translucent ballot box,? said Rafanan.

The precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine is an automation technology that uses an optical scanner which reads marked ballots fed into the machine. It would not read a check, a cross, a dot or a line written inside the oval, only a half or fully shaded oval, said the poll official.

While the poll machines are configured to read as a vote a half-shaded oval, Rafanan encouraged voters to fully shade the ovals to ensure that they are counted as vote.

?The poll machines operate in a way that it would read an oval with a threshold mark of at least 50 percent or simply, a half-shaded oval. But note that a half shade differs per person. So, voters should practice full shading of these ovals so they are 100 percent sure that their votes are counted correctly,? said Rafanan.

As guide to prevent an overvote, Rafanan said the ballots would also contain guidelines stating that a voter ?can vote for not more than one candidate? for president, vice president and partylist and ?not more than 12 candidates? for senator.

These instructions means a voter can undervote or select less than the total 12 senate candidates, for example, but not overvote, which is done by shading ovals of 13 senatorial bets instead of 12, would cause the machine to discard all votes for that office.

Rafanan also urged voters not to fold or put spurious marks on the ballot. He said this could compromise the ballot?s security features such as bar code or invisible UV ink and result in the rejection of the vote.

A voter would be given only one ballot, under the law.

?We will print only 50 million ballots for the close to 50 million registered voters. One voter is entitled to one ballot only, no more second chances in filling up another ballot,? Rafanan stressed.

Preparing a ?kodigo? or list of candidates to be voted would also help the voter to shade the ballot faster, said Comelec commissioner Rene Sarmiento in another interview.

Since the new ballots would have the names of candidates arranged in number and in alphabetical order, Sarmiento said the ?kodigo?or list should include both the name and the assigned number of a candidate.

Sarmiento also urged voters to help Comelec in monitoring election violations of candidates during the campaign period between February 9 to May 8 for national elective posts and from March 29 to May 8 for local bets. Comelec issued campaign guidelines on Monday.

To practice voting in the special ballots for automation, download sample ballots for non-ARMM and ARMM areas at the Comelec website



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