Monday, March 29, 2010

Comelec issues guidelines on overseas voting

By Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:57:00 03/28/2010

Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Inquirer Politics

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines -- Officials administering the month-long overseas absentee voting in Hong Kong and Singapore have been ordered to print status reports of the process at the start and end of each day.

The report will contain the number of those who had voted and the number of valid ballots counted, according to Resolution No. 8806 that was released by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) over the weekend.

The resolution contains general instructions for the special board of election inspectors and special ballot reception and custody group on the voting, counting and transmission of results for the balloting in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Due to the large number of absentee voters in Hong Kong and Singapore, the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines procured by the Comelec for the country’s first automated elections will be used there.

In other countries, Filipino voters will send out ballots via mail, or cast votes personally in designated polling precincts and have the ballots counted manually, in accordance with the traditional procedures of absentee voting.

The overseas absentee voting will be held 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. from April 10 to May 10.

Under the Comelec resolution, the special boards are required to count and record the number of unused ballots at the end of each voting day. The boards and the watchers present should also sign the status report.

The report, along with the unused ballots and other election documents and paraphernalia, will be placed inside the ballot receptacle and election materials box sealed with a masking tape signed by board members.

The Comelec resolution emphasized that the ballot box and the counting machines should remain inside the polling place and should be secured.

At the start of each voting day, the boards should also print the status report, and compare the number of valid ballots cast in the status report with the number that had been recorded.

The board should also show that there are ballots inside the black ballot box, without opening it.

The ballot box has a small transparent window through which the contents can be seen.

After the votes are counted, unused ballots should be torn in half lengthwise. One half would be placed in an envelope and submitted to the custody group for safekeeping, while the other half would be put in an envelope to be deposited in the ballot box.

The resolution also states that before the termination of the voting, the board members are barred from announcing whether a voter has voted, how many have voted or have so far failed to do so, or stating any other fact that tends to show the state of the polls or reveal how any person has voted.

Original Story:

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