Suspicious marks on ballots bared
By Ina Reformina
Comelec says they’re part of security features
MANILA, Philippines – An ABS-CBN News source has revealed there are suspicious marks on the official May 10 ballots that can be downloaded from the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) official website.
The lines below the candidates’ names led to fears some counting machines may be programmed to read the lines, and not the shaded ovals beside the preferred candidates’ names.
What was more suspicious to the source is that the lines below the names of administration bets are longer than the rest.
For instance, the line below the name of Lakas-KAMPI-CMD’s Gilbert Teodoro is longer than that of Liberal Party bet Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III or Nacionalista Party presidential candidate Manuel Villar.
But Comelec and Smartmatic-TIM officials were quick to douse the speculation, revealing that the marks serve as a security feature during the printing process.
A closer look at the ballot shows the lines are actually the names of the candidates’ political parties.
Smartmatic said the names are another way to know if a ballot is fake or has been altered.
Gregorio Larrazabal, Comelec automation steering committee chairman, said the lines are part of the security features on the ballots, and that not all these details can be made public.
Both the Comelec and Smartmatic assured the public that the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines are programmed to read and count only shaded ovals.
“Nagmimit ang lines sa oval lang. Yun ang guide ng makina sa vote counting,” said Comelec IT expert Renato Garcia.
The Comelec added there will be a nationwide random manual audit on election day to compare election results counted by the machines and those counted manually.