Lanao del Sur town posts 178% voter turnout in 2019 polls – PCIJ

Michael Bueza

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Lanao del Sur town posts 178% voter turnout in 2019 polls – PCIJ
(UPDATED) Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez says the poll body will look into this, but adds that this 'seems to be an unlikely scenario'


MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A little over three-quarters of registered Filipino voters cast their votes in the May 13, 2019, midterm elections. However, it seems that, in one town, nearly twice the number of its registered voters turned up on election day. 

In their report on Monday, November 25, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) looked at data on voters and candidates for the 2019 polls from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), and saw that the town of Amai Manabilang in Lanao del Sur had a voter turnout of 178.37%.

This means that 5,498 registered to vote in Amai Manabilang, but 9,807 voters actually voted in that town on May 13, based on Comelec’s data as of November 18, 2019.

In a text message to Rappler, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the poll body will verify this information. “But at first blush, that seems to be an unlikely scenario, as there are only as many ballots as there are voters,” he added. 

Amai Manabilang was among the towns that had difficulty transmitting election results to Comelec’s Transparency Server in Manila after polls closed on election day. Only one of 18 voting precincts in the town was able to transmit to the Transparency Server, based on data received by media organizations like Rappler, for a transmission rate of only 5.56%. 

However, according to data from Comelec’s Central Server, all precincts in Amai Manabilang were able to transmit. The Central Server data also showed that there were only 5,271 valid votes for single-winner contests like for mayor and for House representative.

When polls close, election returns are transmitted electronically from vote-counting machines to the transparency server, the central server, and the server in the municipal or city board of canvassers. (READ: How does the PH automated election system work?)

Amai Manabilang is the only town with a voter turnout above 100%. Some other towns in Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao had a turnout over 95%. (READ: Fewer polling precincts post 100% turnout in 2019)

Some areas in Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao also had the lowest turnout rates nationwide. The town of Lumbaca-Unayan, Lanao del Sur, posted the lowest voter turnout, at 42%, noted PCIJ. 

Nationwide, the official voter turnout in the May 2019 polls is 75.90%, based on Comelec data. PCIJ said that 396 cities and municipalities had a voter turnout less than this rate, while in the rest – or 1,238 cities and towns – it was higher.

Among provinces, Siquijor had the highest voter turnout, at 85%, while Rizal had the lowest, at 65.1%. –

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Michael Bueza

Michael is a data curator under Rappler's Tech Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.