AFTER being postponed twice, the printing of the ballots for the May elections finally started Sunday at the National Printing Office (NPO) in Quezon City.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesman James Jimenez confirmed this Sunday, saying the machines at the NPO started printing more than 50 million official ballots.

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"We started the printing of around 55,000 ballots moments ago," he said, referring to the first batch of ballots to be printed.

A total 50,723,734 ballots will be printed, which is equivalent to the same number of registered voters.

Jimenez also revealed that they will be printing some 1,631 unique ballot faces, the number that corresponds to the number of municipalities and cities in the country since the names of the national and local candidates will be pre-printed.

It can be recalled that the printing of the official ballots was moved twice by the Comelec and their service-provider, Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) Corporation.

It was originally set on January 25 but was moved to January 31 in order to give time to resolve pending motions for reconsideration and petitions to disqualify some candidates.

However, a day before the end of last month, the commission decided to move it to February 7, saying it still has a lot of time and that it doesn’t want the ballots to be stuck at the NPO office for a long time.

Earlier, Comelec and Smartmatic officials said they will be able to finish the printing by early April or 60 to 70 days.

The work at the NPO is 24/7 until they printed all the more than 50 ballots. (FP/Sunnex)