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Random manual audit of May polls to extend for 24 days — Lente

By: - Reporter / @CMarquezINQ
/ 12:36 PM May 17, 2019
Random manual audit of May polls to extend for 24 days -- Lente

Legal Network for Truthful Elections Executive Director Rona Ann Caritos at the third day of Random Manual Audit for the 2019 May midterm elections. INQUIRER.net photo / Consuelo Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — The Random Manual Audit (RMA) of the 2019 May midterm polls could be extended from its initial deadline of 12 days to 24 days due to the huge number of ballots, the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) said on Friday.

“What we said is that we will finish in 12 days unfortunately the period of RMA could be extended. Probably, it would be extended in 24 days or it would take until the first or second week of June to finish,” Lente Executive Director Rona Ann Caritos told INQUIRER.net at the sidelines of RMA Day 3 at Diamond Hotel in Manila.

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Asked about the reason behind the possible delay, Caritos said “the number of ballots inside the ballot boxes really affected the recount or the audit of the ballot.”

Caritos said they were only able to finish 40 ballot boxes a day, which is lower than their target of 60 ballot boxes a day.

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Meanwhile, Caritos said more teachers and auditors are needed to allow faster manual counting of votes.

“We need to add more teachers and more auditors so that more ballot boxes can be finished in lesser days,” she said.

Public expectations

Caritos said the delay on manual audit of votes could take longer so they can be sure of the results and disprove the allegation of fraud in the 2019 elections.

“Well, because of what is happening outside RMA there are expectations, what we would want to happen is to show to the people if ever something happened, if something fraudulent happened or if the machines really counted our votes,” she said.

Caritos cited that RMA can also help verify reports that some votes allegedly did not reflect in the receipts of the vote-counting machines (VCM).

“One of the issues, the receipts of the VCM was different from the actual votes of the voters and on RMA, hopefully we can show that the machines really counted our votes,” Caritos said.

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READ: Manual audit of 2019 polls can verify reports of discrepancies – Lente

Caritos, however, said the faster they can finish with the manual count, the “better” they can prove the credibility of the election system.

“Mas mabilis matapos ang RMA, the better for it to show that the system could be credible,” she said.

Lente, composed of volunteer lawyers, paralegals and law students, became the new partner of Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the RMA, replacing the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel).

On Wednesday, Lente started its first day of manual vote count which will be used to compare the accuracy of the automated vote count. (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)

READ: Lente to replace Namfrel as Comelec’s partner for random manual audit

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TAGS: Audit, ballots, Election 2019, Lente, Local news, Philippine news update
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