No UV lamps used in Singapore voting center, says poll official
ANDREO C. CALONZO and NIKKA CORSINO
No ultraviolet (UV) lamps were used in the automated absentee voting in Singapore which started on Saturday, an official from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said.
Comelec Commissioner Armando Velasco, who is currently in Singapore to oversee overseas absentee voting (OAV) there, told GMANews.TV that voting proceeded in the island city-state even without the use of UV lamps to check whether the ballots were genuine.
“Walang ginamit na UV lamps dito sa Singapore, pero hindi naman problema iyon (No UV lamps were used here in Singapore, but that’s not a problem),” he said in a phone interview on Saturday.
Velasco said the ballots to be used in the automated voting in Singapore have other security features that the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines can read.
“The ballot itself has other security features. The UV markings (are for) additional security,” he said.
The Comelec had earlier said that no UV lamps had been prepared for the verification of ballots in foreign voting centers. (See: Comelec: No UV lamps ready to verify ballots in poll centers abroad)
From consul’s own money
The UV lamps used in Hong Kong, meanwhile, were bought from the consul’s personal funds, another poll official said.
Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal told GMANews.TV in a separate phone interview that the UV lamps used to verify the security markings in the ballots in Hong Kong were bought from Consul General Claro Cristobal’s personal money.
“The UV lamps are from personal funds. There was no government money whatsoever spent… no public money… The consul general purchased the lamps out of his own money, and I told him I would pay back the full amount,” he said.
Larrazabal said that the lamps were bought from Hong Kong, but when further asked for the brand and model of the UV lamps, he said he did not know.
GMANews.TV has been been trying in the past days to get more technical information about the specific type and features of UV lamps, as well as step-by-step procedures, that may be allowed or required by Comelec for use in ballot authentication.
Comelec recently decided that hand-held UV lamps will be used to manually check whether ballots are true and genuine, instead of relying on the UV-checking feature of PCOS machines, after UV markings on the paper ballots were noticed to have moved out of alignment while being printed, according to the poll body. (See: Ultraviolet lamps will be used to check ballots’ authenticity)
Ramon Casiple, a member of the Comelec’s Advisory Council for the upcoming polls, said that the verification of UV markings on ballots will go from automated to manual since Smartmatic-TIM failed to use the correct ink for UV security markings. (See: ‘Wrong’ ink used in printing ballots’ UV security markings)
Smartmatic, which supplied automated voting equipment for the May polls, denied having any problems with the ink used in the UV markings.—JV, GMANews.TV