Poll watchdog wary of ballot replacement
THE PARISH Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) on Sunday asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to clarify its new rule on giving voters replacement ballots should the vote-counting machine reject their first ballot on Election Day.
PPCRV chair Henrietta de Villa said the group was wary about the ballot replacement rule as it was likely to cause chaos on May 9.
“We wrote the Comelec a letter asking for clarification because we all know that each precinct will have the exact number of ballots according to the number of voters registered there,” De Villa told reporters.
She said there were matters that should be clarified before the rule is implemented, such as the basis of the board of election inspectors (BEIs) for deciding whether a voter should be given a replacement ballot or not, and the number of times a voter can ask for a replacement ballot.
Earlier, Comelec Chair Andres Bautista said that under the new policy, BEIs would be authorized to hand out replacement ballots to voters whose original ballots had been rejected by the VCMs through no fault of their own.
The BEIs are responsible for the assessment in each circumstance, Bautista said.
De Villa said the new rule could cause the disenfranchisement of many voters.
“What if there will be many voters who ask for a replacement? Just in case there will be a 90 percent voter turnout and more than 90 percent of the ballots are given out as replacements, where will the other voters get their ballots? That is disenfranchisement,” she said.
“The Comelec should issue a resolution explaining how this rule will be implemented, or maybe completely junk it,” De Villa said. Jocelyn R. Uy
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