Comelec admits error in UV markings on ballots

Comelec admits error in UV markings on ballots

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has admitted an error in the ultraviolet (UV) markings printed on ballots for the May 10 polls, but denied a report that the wrong UV ink was used in the printing of the ballots for the May 10 elections.

Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said the UV markings printed on the ballots was a bit displaced because of the high-speed printing process.

He said the UV marking overlapped with the other printed characters in the ballot, thus making the markings unreadable by the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines.

This was confirmed by Ramon Casiple, chairman of the Consortium on Electoral Reform, and a member of the Comelec Advisory Council.

The printing problem concerning the UV markings has forced the Comelec to forego the use of the PCOS’ UV mark-reading function.

The Comelec said members of the board of election inspectors (BEI) will instead use UV lamps to make sure that the ballots are genuine.

Larrazabal assured that the ballots carry several security features other than the UV markings, such as precinct-specific bar codes.

Casiple, however, said the use of UV lamps means more work for the teachers. He added that this could also be easily forgotten as the use of UV lamp was not included in the list of General Instructions.

He added that security bar codes can be copied. Ballots with copied bar codes can easily pass through the PCOS machines with de-activated UV mark-reading functions, he said.

Larrazabal earlier would not confirm or deny that the UV ink supplied by Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corp. (TIM) was wrong and refused to divulge the explanation given by the joint venture.

“There’s a number of things and let’s wait for the en banc. For me, what is important is there is still a way to authenticate the UV ink. The ballot itself is authenticated by the PCOS machines,” he said.

Asked why the Comelec opted to use portable UV reader instead of replacing the UV ink, Larrazabal said that would have set a bad precedent.

“If you do that, people will come up with so many excuses to invalidate this ballot and that ballot. Right now, we are working on a timeline to ensure that we have ballots on Election Day,” he said. With a report from the Philippine Star

Karen Ang

A plebeian who is trying to make small changes in this world.