THERE are only two things that voters need to know: how to shade and not over-vote.

These were the reminders of Cebu Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano, four months before the country’s first automated elections.

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It is a myth, he said, that voters should be technology-savvy in order to vote now.

Castillano attended in Manila last week a “trainer’s training” on the general instructions from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), as well as how to handle the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine.

Election supervisors who attended the training will then train the election officers in their areas.

“But that is no longer the concern of the voters; their concern is more on how to vote, not how to operate the machine,” said Castillano.

Voters no longer have to write the names of their candidates this time. Instead, they need to shade the oval beside their chosen candidate’s name. (At least half of the oval must be shaded.)

Voters should only shade according to the prescribed number. For example, only 12 ovals should be shaded under senator; if the voter picks more than 12, his or her vote for the particular position will be invalidated. The rest of the ballot will still be counted if there is no overvoting in the other contests.

A voter has two chances to feed the ballot into the PCOS machine. If the machine rejects the ballot the first time it was fed, the voter can submit the ballot again.

Castillano clarified, though, that the same ballot will be fed to the PCOS.

Among the reasons for the PCOS to reject the ballots are erasures on the ballot, tears, writing on other areas of the ballot and tampered barcodes.

Information dissemination will be strengthened once the roadshow hits the provinces in the country.

Castillano still does not have the schedule for the roadshow but said it will be with a PCOS machine so that voters’ education will be hands-on.

But the PCOS have yet to be distributed.

Castillano said, though, that every week, PCOS machines arrive in the Central Office from China. (JGA)