Comelec rules out perforated sample ballots

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) ruling that forbids the use of a perforated sample ballot has encouraged opposition candidates in Lapu-Lapu City.

The Comelec en banc, in a resolution last April 26, dismissed the request of Amelita Navarro, a candidate in Santiago City,
Isabela, to use a perforated plastic template as her sample ballot.

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The plastic template has holes. When the sheet is placed over the ballot, the holes correspond to the ovals beside the names of Navarro’s party mates.

“The template might be used to facilitate vote-buying or coercion,” the Comelec ruled. “Through the identification of the smudges along the holes, the plastic templates may be utilized as proof that the votes have indeed” been cast in favor of some candidates.

Two parties recently filed similar petitions before Comelec against perforated ballots being distributed in Lapu-Lapu City by the Lakas-Kampi CMD, led by Mayor Arturo Radaza and his wife Paz. The mayor is running for the city’s new congressional district, while his wife is running to replace him as mayor.

The sample ballots being questioned by the opposition bear only the names of Radaza’s slate, with perforations beside each name.

Supporters have allegedly been taught to place these samples on top of the official ballots, then shade the ovals revealed by the perforations.

Liberal Party legal counsel Joan Largo said it is clear from the resolution that Comelec won’t allow such types of perforated “codigos” inside polling precincts.

City Election Officer Ferdinand Gujilde said it will be “more prudent” to wait for the Comelec en banc’s ruling on the Lapu-Lapu petitions.

But, he said, if the en banc won’t rule on the petition until election day, he may use the Navarro case in deciding on the validity of the Radaza camp’s perforated sample ballots.

Article 17, Section 195 of the Omnibus Election Code prohibits the use of carbon paper or “any other means of making a copy of the contents of the ballot or any other means to identify the vote of a voter.”

Because of the smudges that will be left, “the plastic template can be used by the saboteurs of this election as a means to ensure the victory of the favored candidate. This, the commission is authorized to prevent and avoid.” (AIV/With FVQ of Superbalita)

Comelec rules out perforated sample ballots

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