Comelec hit for ‘downplaying’ overseas absentee voting issues
MANILA, Philippines — An information technology (IT) advocacy group on Tuesday hit the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the reported irregularities in the use of vote counting machines (VCMs) in overseas absentee voting.
IT group Computer Professionals Union (CPU) was reacting to reports of VCM issues encountered in the first few days of the overseas voting in different countries.
These issues include VCM breakdowns, machines with broken seals, and mismatch between the votes and receipts printed.
CPU deputy coordinator Mac Yanto said the Comelec should have prepared countermeasures to address the problems.
“This is not mere fake news, or something minor, as the Comelec would like to call it.
Countermeasures should have been in place at the get-go to ensure that VCMs don’t malfunction and break down, ballots are in order, and polling precincts are prepared,” Yanto said.
Yanto also slammed the Comelec for failing to address these issues when the automated elections were introduced nine years ago.
“It’s not like we’re doing this for the first time. By now there should be more stringent systems and counter-measures in place to ensure smooth, transparent, peaceful, and accurate elections,” he said.
“This is the fourth time we’re doing automated elections, and yet we’re still encountering the same problems we’ve experienced, in the Philippines and our overseas posts, since 2010,” he added.
Yanto said the issues, including cases of votes not being counted accurately, violates overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) right to vote.
On April 15, the poll body reported that the official voter’s lists in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia encountered problems at the Bureau of Customs, which caused a delay and the disenfranchisement of some overseas absentee voters.
“The hard copy of OVF-2A Election Day Computerized Voters Lists to be used in Al-Khobar were delayed in Customs,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez explained.
Yanto advised the public to report irregularities in the elections to VoteReport (@votereportphilippines) and Kontra Daya (@KontraDaya).
“The public should be warned and [should remain] vigilant in the face of what appears to be the same irregularities we have seen in the past nine years of automated elections,” Yanto said. /ee
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