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Palace calls on COMELEC to intensify voters' education, seeks to address 'overvoting'.

By Genalyn Kabiling

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) should consider taking steps, including intensified voters' education, to prevent a repeat of the overvoting in the elections, Malacanang said Thursday.

The appeal was made by Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo after expressing dismay with reports that more than one million overvotes were recorded in the recent midterm polls.

The ballots exceeding 12 senatorial candidates were reportedly nullified since the vote counting machines are designed not to count them.

"Ang nanghihinayang ako ay iyong 1.1 million, I think the Comelec should do something about that. Kasi, biruin mo 1.1 million hindi mo mabibilang [I am dismayed with the 1.1 million (overvotes). I think the Comelec should do something about that because it's not a joke that 1.1 million votes cannot be counted]," Panelo said during a press conference at the Palace.

Panelo acknowledged these ballots could have made a difference in the poll numbers of some candidates gunning for senatorial seats.

"Kapag titingnan mo iyong mga differences doon sa mga kandidato, aba, malaking bagay iyon - mayroong malalaglag, mayroong papasok [If you see the differences of the candidates, it could made a big impact. Some may fall, others might come in]," he said.

Panelo said the poll body probably fell short in informing the voters about the rules on ballot shading. He said they ought to step up the information campaign and possibly modernize the ballot system.

In last Monday's polls, a voter must only vote for 12 senatorial candidates.

"Kulang ang kampaniya siguro nila, at the same time, siguro dagdagan pa nila kasi sayang eh [The campaign was probably insufficient at the same time, they should step it up because the votes are only wasted]," he said.

Panelo also suggested an upgrade of the country's ballot system where voters click their choices on the screen.

"Dapat maging modern tech na tayo na kapag pumunta ka sa voting precinct, pipindot ka lang kapag vote [We should have modern tech where you'll go to a voting precinct and simply press your vote]," he said.

"Kapag binoto mo, labas kaagad sa screen, nationwide. Kumbaga, every time ka boboto, nandoon na, nagdadagdag na iyong mga boboto. Bakit kaya hindi nila magawa iyon? [After you vote, the results will flash on screen nationwide. Every time you vote, it's automatically counted with the others. Why can't they do that?]," he added. #MatalinongBoto2019


Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:May 16, 2019
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