Thursday, February 25, 2016

Comelec mulls ballot receipts for overseas voters

The Commission on Elections is considering issuing ballot receipts to overseas absentee voters, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said on Wednesday.
The poll body, however, remains firm in doing away with the ballot receipt for local voters due to time constraints.
"Isa sa pinag-usapan namin ay 'yung posibilidad na magkaroon ng resibo for overseas voters. Bakit? Dahil 30 days ang kanilang pagboto, at mas kaunti ang boboto," Bautista old reporters.
More than 1.1 million Filipinos abroad will take part in overseas absentee voting, which will last for a month, starting April 9.
Bautista acknowledged that the receipt will be good in aid of transparency, but it will be difficult to accommodate in a one-day synchronized national and local elections.
In an earlier interview, Bautista said issuing receipts would mean an additional five to seven hours in the election process.
Bautista also reiterated concerns over how the receipts could be used for vote-buying or even vote-selling.
"'Yung  dito sa eleksyon sa Pilipinas, sa 54.3 million voters, talagang masyadong masalimuot kung magpi-print ng resibo, talagang hindi kakayanin," Bautista said.
"We also have to take into account itong vote-buying is parang unique in the Philippine setting," he added.
He added: "Kunwari mas marami tayong oras, why not, 'di ba? [But] the disadvantages outweigh the advantages."
Asked why not keep the 2013 voting schedule, which lasted from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Bautista said, "Kahit gawin 'yan, hindi pa rin kakayanin."
"Hindi kami tutol sa resibo per se, but voting conditions [are] not conducive para dito," he added.
The voter verification paper audit trail (VVPAT) is one of the four security features mandated by law.
The VVPAT lets voters review how the vote counting machine appreciated their markings on their ballots. Among its forms is a printed receipt.
Comelec has announced the machines will not be issuing receipts, while it is still deliberating on whether to enable the onscreen verification feature.
Election watchdogs, as well some lawmakers, have asked the poll body to reconsider its decision.
On Monday, former Senator Richard Gordon—author of the automated election law who's seeking another term at Senate—asked the Supreme Court to compel Comelec to issue the receipt.
Sought for comment, the poll body said that matter is up to the high court. -NB, GMA News

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