Poll body sets rules on votes for nuisance bets-A A +A
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has opted to set the record straight on what will happen to votes cast in the May 13 midterm polls for nuisance candidates, following a recent ruling by the Supreme Court (SC).
According to Comelec Resolution 9599, a vote for a nuisance candidate does not automatically mean that it will be considered a stray vote, or votes that will not be counted in the official tally.
“If the person declared as a nuisance candidate, and whose Certificate of Candidacy (COC) has been cancelled or denied due course, does not have the same name and/or surname as a bona fide candidate for the same office, the votes cast for such nuisance shall be deemed stray,” said the Comelec en banc.
“If the person declared as a nuisance candidate, and whose Certificate of Candidacy (COC) has been cancelled or denied due course, has the same name and/or surname as a bona fide candidate for the same office, the votes cast shall not be considered stray but shall be counted and tallied for the bona fide candidate,” it added.
However, the commission clarified that if there are two or more bona fide candidates with the same name and/or surname as the nuisance bet, the votes cast for the nuisance candidate shall still be considered as stray votes.
The resolution effectively amended an earlier resolution of the poll body, which provided for an identical treatment of votes for nuisance candidates.
“Votes cast for the candidate, whose COC has been cancelled or denied due course, shall be deemed as stray votes,” said Comelec Resolution No. 9523 that was promulgated September 25, 2012.
The amendment in the previous rule of the commission stemmed from a November decision of the SC, wherein it stated that the rule on appreciation of ballots “must be liberally construed” so that the choice of public officials will not be defeated by “technical infirmities.”
“We hold that the rule considering the votes cast for a nuisance candidate declared as such in a final judgment, particularly where such nuisance candidate has the same surname as that of the legitimate candidate, not stray but counted in favor of the latter, remains a good law,” said the SC in a 14-0 decision.
According to the Omnibus Election Code, nuisance candidates are individuals, who filed their COCs, but whose intent is on putting the election process “in mockery or disrepute or to cause confusion among the voters by the similarity of the names of the registered candidates.” (HDT)