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Printing of ballots for May polls starts

PRINTING of ballots for the May 2019 mid-term is under way at the National Printing Office in Quezon City. (Alvin Kasiban)

PRINTING of ballots for the May 2019 mid-term is under way at the National Printing Office in Quezon City. (Alvin Kasiban)

The Commission on Elections yesterday Saturday started printing ballots that will be used for the national and local elections on May 13.

The poll body will print 64,804,544 ballots using three printers at the National Printing Office in Quezon City.

The printing of ballots will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Comelec targets to print one million ballots per day.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, in a press briefing yesterday, said that they will print the ballots for the overseas absentee voting first, as the start of the casting of votes for the OAV will be on April 13. Total ballots that will be used for the OAV is 1,818,710.

“In the succeeding days, the printing of ballots will be done based on priority areas: We will start in Mindanao provinces, followed by the Visayas provinces, Luzon provinces, and the National Capital Region,” said Maria Victoria Dulcero, Comelec vice chairperson for the printing committee.

“The order of the printing starts from the farthest. Far-flung areas first and then the last few deliveries will be NCR because iyun ‘yung pinaka mabilis na i-deliver na destination,” Jimenez said.

The Comelec said that they target to finish the printing of the ballots by April 25. “The timeline of the project management office, the printing of ballots will be finished by April 25. But we will do our very best to finish it before that,” said Dulcero.

Jimenez clarified that name of candidates, who have pending petitions for disqualification, is still included in the ballot. “One of the things that you have to understand about petitions for disqualification is that those things don’t end up in Comelec in any case. Even if the Comelec will rule on that now, it doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the story,” said Jimenez.

“Dadaan pa ‘yan sa appeal process, sa Supreme Court…So, they have to be on the ballot because the idea there, what if they win?…What if they make it through the disqualification process? So, for now kasama muna sila,” he added.

Jimenez said that the ballots will have the normal security features that we normally have like thumb mark, bar code, and ultraviolet marks that can be read by the voting machine. The ballot will be rejected by the voting machine if it cannot be read.

The Comelec mouthpiece also said that they still lack operating funds. “We are operating on a deficit right now as we mentioned last week. But we cannot allow our procedures and preparations to be hampered by the lack of operating
budget,” said Jimenez. (Analou de Vera)

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