Sunday July 22, 2018

No selfies while voting, or risk jail

VOTERS will not be allowed to take photographs while voting in the May 9 elections, whether of the premises, their ballots, and especially not themselves.

Election Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said mobile phones, cameras, or any other device may not be used inside polling precincts during election day.

“Only watchers of political parties can use mobile phones inside the polling place,” Guanzon said, as long as watchers do not violate the privacy of voters.

Those caught taking photos may end up in police custody, the election commissioner said.

She clarified, however, that voters would not be prohibited from bringing such devices into the polling precinct. Only their use while inside the precinct is banned.

Comelec rules prohibit voters, watchers, and members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) from taking photos of the ballots or voter’s receipts inside the polling precinct, as it violates the sanctity and secrecy of the ballot.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Resolution 8786 states that “use of carbon paper, paraffin paper or other means of making a copy of the contents of the ballot, or otherwise make use of any other scheme to identify his vote, including the use of digital cameras, cellular phones with camera or similar gadgets” are prohibited.

It is also unlawful for voters to bring home the voter’s receipt.

Those caught bringing the voter’s receipt out of the polling place will face one to six years imprisonment without probation. They will also face perpetual disqualification from holding government office and will no longer be able to vote, Comelec rules state.

Meanwhile, 2,556 voting counting machines and other election paraphernalia for Negros Occidental are set to arrive in the third or last week of the month.

Provincial Elections Supervisor Ian Lee Ananoria said that the final testing and sealing of the machines are scheduled from May 3 to 6.