Comelec eyes manual voting for prisoners
THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) on Monday said it was considering a manual voting system for more than 64,000 detainees after the Supreme Court ordered to put on hold their participation in the May elections.
“We are looking at all the possibilities to comply with the SC order, including, possibly manual counting of votes here at the Comelec central office,” said Commissioner Luie Guia in an interview with reporters on Monday.
Comelec data show that there are 64,238 inmates from 248 jail facilities, including the national penitentiary, that are registered voters in 8,530 established precincts. These facilities are located in 223 cities and municipalities nationwide.
Guia said that prior the temporary restraining order issued by the high court last week, the Comelec was already prepared for the voting of the detainees, which will use the regular ballots designed for ordinary precincts.
Usually, the ballots are delivered to the jail facilities and returned to the regular precincts for counting.
“But since they can only vote for the national positions, we cannot use that kind of procedure now because the system has been configured to count everything,” said Guia.
The Comelec official said the commission was still studying the options, including the need to print manual ballots or to just allow the detainees to use the preprinted ballots.
“We just got the TRO on Wednesday… Our main consideration is to find an alternative system that will be less disruptive of what has already been prepared,” said Guia.