100,000 scissors for clean elections
Call him Andy Scissorhands, as Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Andres Bautista and the poll body are counting on 100,000 pairs of scissors to solve their dilemma over the Supreme Court order for them to issue voter receipts on Election Day.
Bautista said on Friday that the election body had decided in a special en banc meeting to bid out contracts for scissors and plastic receptacles that will be needed to comply with the court’s decision.
The poll chief said the Comelec bids and awards committee has opened the bidding for 100,000 pairs of scissors worth P1.2 million (or P12 each) and for 92,509 plastic receptacles worth P27.75 million (or P300 each), that will serve as the repository of the voter receipts.
“We started the bidding for the scissors to [address] the possibility of paper jams,” Bautista said in an interview with reporters.
On Thursday, the Comelec gave the high court a demo on how the vote-counting machines work, while warning that there could be delays in voting should paper jams occur because the built-in cutters were not heavy duty.
When the high court upheld its earlier ruling on voting receipts, Bautista said the Comelec planned its next steps to comply with the order, “studying the risks and looking for ways to mitigate them.”
In total, the Comelec was looking at spending at least P200 million more to make the issuance of voter receipts possible, the poll chief said.
‘Early warning’ system
Bautista said the additional expenses will go to the overtime pay of workers in the warehouse in Sta. Rosa, Laguna province, who have started to work double shifts, and the retraining of 300,000 public school teachers who will serve as board of election inspectors (BEIs).
The Comelec chair also disclosed that the poll body has decided to include an “early warning” system to the million rolls of thermal papers that will be used in printing the voting receipts, to further prevent paper jams that could result in printing delays.
“We required that toward the end part of the paper roll, there should be a red mark to signal BEIs that they need to replace the roll to minimize incidents of paper jams,” Bautista said.
Last week, the Comelec invited interested suppliers to provide them with more than one million thermal paper rolls with a budget allocation of P85.8 million.
Bautista also disclosed on Friday that the poll body was seriously considering an earlier start to voting on May 9 to address the expected longer balloting hours brought about by the printing of voter receipts.
The Comelec had earlier estimated that allowing voters to print out and review receipts will take a minimum of 43 seconds per voter, or a total of 7.1 hours for 600 voters in a precinct.
Bautista said a 12-hour voting time on Election Day, which will start at 6 a.m., was among the ideas raised at the special en banc meeting on Friday.
“We want to take advantage of the light. As much as possible, we want voting to be finished while there is still daylight,” the Comelec chair said. TVJ
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.