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ARMM automated polls tested today

By Julie Alipala
Mindanao Bureau
First Posted 03:45:00 07/22/2008

Filed Under: Moro, Islam, Elections, Regional authorities

ZAMBOANGA CITY ? The Commission on Election will hold mock polls in selected areas in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Tuesday using automated machines.

Lawyer James Jimenez, Comelec spokesperson, told reporters here Monday that the ?mock poll will also simulate the actual processes and procedure for the Aug. 11 ARMM election.?

?It is like a preview to what will happen in the Aug. 11 ARMM election,? Jimenez said.

He said today?s activity will allow registered voters to familiarize themselves with the new system of casting and counting votes.

Two types of machines will be used for the exercise ? the Smartmatic-Sahi?s direct recording equipment (DRE), which will be used in Maguindano and the Optical Media Reader (OMR), which will be used in Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

The DRE will require voters to press their votes on a touch screen, while in the OMR, voters will ?simply shade the circles beside the candidates? names.?

But today?s mock polls will just be ?small-scale,? with 50 to 100 participants for each of ARMM?s five provinces.

Voting will start at 9 a.m. and end at 11 a.m., after which counting will begin using the automated machines.

?Transmission will begin at 2 to 3 p.m., and we will be able to consolidate at the local level as well as in the central office,? Jimenez said.

The mock polls in Basilan will be held at the Lamitan City Central School and Basilan National High School. In Sulu, it will be at Sulu State College and Mindanao State University, while the Sanga-sanga Gymnasium will be the venue for Tawi-tawi.

The mock polls in Maguindanao will be held at the Cotabato Polytechnic College, Saces Elementary School, Midtimbang Elementary School, Talayan Pilot Elementary School and Tungol Elementary School. In Lanao del Sur, it will be at the Provincial Capitol Gym in Marawi City and Wao Gym in Wao town.

But instead of names of the candidates, the ballots will have names of Hollywood stars.

Jimenez said this was aimed at making the mock polls more exciting.

?There is still the element of choice, because they [Hollywood stars] are known. It won?t be boring,? he said.

Jimenez added that the Comelec would not spend a single centavo for the mock elections. He said the dry-run is part of the contract of acquisition of the automated machines.



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