Sunday, April 25, 2010

Facts about RP elections

April 23, 2010, 4:56pm

Original Story:

(Reuters) – More than 50 million Philippine voters will choose a president, vice president, nearly 300 lawmakers in the two-chamber Congress and more than 17,600 local government officials in the first nationwide automated polls on May 10. Politicians and investors are nervous about the automated process, which has never been tested anywhere in the country.

The election period started on Jan. 10, with the imposition of a gun ban, except for uniformed personnel, and a ban on new government appointments and infrastructure projects. Presidential candidates kicked off official campaigning on Feb. 9, and campaigning for seats in Congress and local positions began on March 26.

Here are key facts about the elections:

* A total of 50,723,734 registered voters as of April are eligible to vote using 76,340 automated voting machines in 80 provinces across the archipelago. The country has a population of about 92 million, with nearly a third classified as poor.

* Voters will elect a president, vice president, 12 senators, 230 representatives and 57 party-list positions in the lower house of Congress, 80 governors, 80 vice governors, 766 members of provincial legislative boards, 137 city mayors, 137 vice mayors, 1,524 city councillors, 1,497 municipal mayors, 1,497 vice mayors and 11,980 municipal legislative positions. There are about 50,000 candidates for the nearly 18,000 positions.

* Current terms for elected officials expire on June 30.

* Voters will use a special pen to shade blank ovals beside the names of the candidates instead of writing down candidates' names as before.

* An ordinary ballot, about 8 inches (20 cm) wide and 25 inches (64 cm) long, would include an average 600 names for local and national positions, printed back to back.

* Ballots with erasures and extra markings will not be accepted by the counting machines. The election agency is not printing extra ballots for voters who make mistakes in casting their votes. It is making provision for a manual count of 30 percent of the vote in case of technical or logistical problems.

* The counting machines will automatically generate a tally of votes, which will be transmitted to servers at municipal, city, provincial and national election offices.

* Printed copies of the returns will be shared with the two major political parties, an election watchdog headed by a church-based group and the broadcast industry association. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) also plans to make available online the raw results from precincts.

* The election returns from polling precincts, transmitted electronically, will be tallied by a board at the municipal, city, provincial and national levels. Results are expected within two hours at a local level and 72 hours at the national level, although results will not be officially proclaimed then.

* Comelec will officially proclaim winners of local and provincial contests and winners in the lower house of Congress over the next 5 to 10 days.

* Comelec in Manila will proclaim winners in the senatorial and party list election. A joint session of the outgoing Congress, expected to convene on May 30, will officially announce winners in the presidential and vice-presidential elections.

* Comelec estimates the entire election process will end on June 9. In past exercises, it took up to the fourth week of June before a president was proclaimed due to delays in tallying all the votes.

* Delays are expected in the proclamation of winners if large number of machines break down and electronic transmission fails.

* Elections are usually marred by vote-buying, cheating, threats and intimidation by political groups.

* In previous elections, authorities have received hundreds of complaints about discrepancies in the list of voters, such as missing names, double registrants and the illegal transfer of voters to other polling precincts. There were also reports that names of dead people remain on the voters' list. (Reporting by Manny Mogato)

Original Story:

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