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Thursday, March 18, 2010

OFW group takes issue with ballot boxes for overseas voting

"If the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines' official ballot boxes are designed to accommodate only 1,000 ballots; how on earth can 5,000 overseas absentee voting ballots fit into one?"

This is the question raised by the militant Filipino migrants' alliance Migrante International with regards to the official ballot boxes the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is set to deploy to Hong Kong and Singapore for the automated voting of Filipino overseas absentee voters there.

"There is much to be concerned about because OF THE HUGE possibility that members of the Special Board of Election Inspectors (SBEIs) will have to open the ballot boxes once they become fully loaded," said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson. "And this, we fear, is a golden opportunity for election cheats to manipulate the OAV ballots."

Martinez said his group is particularly worried because those who'll sit as members of the SBEIs are Embassy and Consular staff and officials. "We can't even trust them to take care of the rights and welfare of OFWs under their watch. How can we trust them with our votes?"

Martinez underscored that the Omnibus Election Code prohibits the unlawful opening of the ballot boxes. He also added that COMELEC Resolution No. 8751 specifically stated that it is prohibited "for any person to tamper with the ballot, the mail containing the ballots for overseas absentee voters, the overseas absentee voting election results, including the destruction, mutilation and manipulation thereof."


The Migrante Leader also has vowed that as election time for OAVs draws near, the organization has linked with its chapters and networks abroad to form MIGRANTE WATCH which will be monitoring more closely the conduct of elections abroad, including COMELEC'S preparation for the OAVs. ###

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