Voter gets pre-shaded ballot

Patricia Evangelista

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' I saw it was filled out already,' he says

PRE-SHADED. First-time voter Raymond Ramirez of Sta. Mesa, Manila claims to have received a pre-shaded ballot upon voting. Photo by Rappler/Patricia Evangelista

MANILA, Philippines – A first-time voter received his ballot with votes already blacked out.

“I saw it was filled out already,” said Raymond Ramirez of Bataan, Sta. Mesa in Manila. “It looks like there’s cheating. I wish they were fair so there are no problems,” he said in Filipino.

Ramirez voted in precinct 582 of Padre Burgos Elementary School, where mayoral candidate and former President Joseph Estrada cast his vote this morning. Over 13,000 are registered to vote.

Ramirez returned his ballot and was told as an explanation that it was probably a sample ballot.

Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) staff denied this, saying it is more probable that Ramirez got his ballot from elderly voters who were probably confused with the procedure.

Ramirez was given a fresh, blank ballot.

“The ballots are sealed,” said a BEI staff member who refused to be named. “I don’t understand what his problem is, he got to vote.”

Both BEI staff were noticeably annoyed, and complained the hubbub over the alleged cheating, delaying the voting. Out of 848 votes, only 150 had been cast as of this publication.

Ramirez filed an electoral complaint. He refuses to say whose votes had been shaded, although BEI says it was “in the back” for the local Manila race. –

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