Postponing the national election a better alternative?


The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will have to do a ton of extra work to print a receipt for every voter’s ballot.

Because of this, the poll body worries it may be unable to hold elections on May 9.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said: “Talagang meron kaming mga pangamba. May mga agam-agam. At makikita niyo kung ano yung mga dapat gawin, no? At hindi namin masisigurado na kami ay makakadeliver ng credible elections kung talagang kakailanganing mag-imprenta ng resibo. Hindi namin alam kung magagawa namin yung credible elections by May 9… So kumbaga, para kaming in limbo ngayon kung anong gagawin.”

[Translation: We have worries. There are doubts. And you see what has to be done, right? And we can’t assure that we will be able to deliver credible elections if we have to print receipts. We do not know if we can deliver credible elections by May 9… We are sort of in limbo now as to what must be done.]

To get started, the Comelec is bidding out an P85 million contract for over a million rolls of thermal paper.

It has also decided to make changes to the poll automation software to enable the voting machines to print receipts.

The Comelec will hold a campaign to educate voters about the receipts. And-they will prepare a back-up precinct distribution plan – in the event they have to resort to manual elections.

Comelec Commissioner Arthur Lim said all these are happening too late. He says it’s better-to just defer the elections.

Lim said: “A half-baked election is totally unacceptable such that, in my own personal view, without committing my colleagues, postponing the election would be a better alternative than pushing through with a half-baked election. Because a half-baked election is a prescription for total chaos.”

The Comelec is trying to get out of the predicament by appealing the high court’s decision.

It submitted a motion for reconsideration asking for a chance to demonstrate the printing process in hopes of changing the minds of the justices.

For example, what if a voter gets confused?

Lim said: “Nalimutan niya ang kanyang binoto. At sabihin niya, hindi ito ang tamang resibo. Paano kung babasahin niya yun at magrereklamo at paano kung gusto niya ilabas? Maaari mo siya i-detain? Walang maliwanag na batas kung election offense ang paglalabas ng voting receipt.”

[Translation: A voter forgets who he voted for. And then he says, he does not have the correct receipt. What if he reads it and complains, and what if he wants to take it out? Will you be able to detain him? There are no clear laws on whether revealing a voting receipt is an election offense.]

A Comelec source tells CNN Philippines their legal department is studying whether the law allows them to postpone the elections because of complications surrounding the printing of ballot receipts.

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