Fewer irregularities in midterm polls, SWS survey shows
MANILA, Philippines–Fewer voters said they witnessed or were aware of instances of irregularities in the May 2019 midterm elections compared to the 2016 elections, but majority of them complained of long lines at the poll precincts, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.
According to the survey, conducted from June 22 to 26, majority said vote-buying, harassment of voters, flying voters, cheating in the vote count, bribing not to vote and election violence did not happen in their place.
Those who said they themselves witnessed incidents of vote-buying went down from 19 percent in June 2016 to 10 percent.
The proportion also fell for those who personally witnessed the following: harassment of voters, from 4 percent to 2 percent; flying voters, from 4 percent to 2 percent; cheating in the counting of votes, from 3 percent to 1 percent; bribing not to vote, from 5 percent to 1 percent; and violence on election day, from 3 percent to 1 percent.
The proportion of those who said they read or heard about vote-buying from reliable sources dropped from 23 percent to 15 percent.
It also decreased for those who said they read or heard about the following: harassment of voters, from 9 percent to 4 percent; flying voters, from 7 percent to 4 percent; cheating in the counting of votes, from 11 percent to 3 percent; bribing not to vote, from 11 percent to 4 percent; and violence on election day, from 6 percent to 1 percent.
Of the complaints listed in the survey, 53 percent cited very long lines as a problem they encountered while voting in the May 2019 elections while 16 percent cited malfunctioning vote-counting machines (VCMs), 4 percent said the VCM did not read the ballot, 3 percent said there was violence in the voting center and 3 percent said they did not see their names in the voters’ list.
Further, the survey found that 88 percent said election day meant: “It is my duty as a Filipino to vote,” while 39 percent defined elections as a good way of making the government responsive to the people.
Other sentiments about election day were: “I have a pretty good understanding of the political issues that confront our society” (16 percent); “I vote for the candidates that my barangay supports” (15 percent); “I vote because I benefit personally” (12 percent); “I have doubts that my vote really matters” (8 percent); and “I vote because other people will know if I did not vote” (6 percent).
The survey items on voting problems and irregularities and the meaning of election day are noncommissioned.
SWS interviewed 1,200 respondents and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. —INQUIRER RESEARCH
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