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Better info drive sought to prevent ‘overvoting’

Palace on 1.1M ‘wasted’ ballots: Election tech needs upgrade

“Such a waste.”

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Friday said the more than 1 million ballots that were not counted because of “overvoting” in the May 13 midterm polls should be a reason for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to improve its information drive so that voters would not make the same mistake in the future.

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“I find the 1.1 million ballots [not counted] a waste … I think the Comelec campaign was lacking. Maybe they should add to it,” Panelo said at a press briefing.

According to a media report, of the 45,659,724 ballots cast for the senatorial race, a total of 1,170,331 ballots had overvotes, or had more than 12 ovals shaded. Such ballots were not accepted by the vote-counting machines (VCMs).

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Disregard extra votes

Panelo said the Comelec should find ways for the VCMs to count only 12 votes for senator and disregard extra votes.

It was high-time that the poll body improved its voting technology, Panelo said.  “We should be using modern technology now [so] that if you go to the voting precinct, you just have to press a button to vote. If you vote, it will show on the screen … Why can’t [the Comelec] do that?”

“They must study [and] remember that the ballots are shaded by voters. There must be a way [so] that even if there’s overvoting, the [VCMs] can just choose not to read the excess votes,” the Palace official said. “There’s nothing in the ballot that says ‘if you choose more than 12, your vote will not be counted.’”

The administration-allied Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) party initially had a 13-member senatorial slate, but its sample ballots released on Election Day showed only 12 candidates, with Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III nowhere on the list.

HNP’s endorsement of 13 senatorial candidates—one name more than the maximum 12 Senate seats up for grabs—caused some confusion among voters.

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TAGS: Comelec, duterte, midterm elections, overvoting, Palace, Panelo, wasted ballots
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