Comelec starts printing ballots for 2022 polls

Dwight de Leon
Comelec starts printing ballots for 2022 polls

2022 POLLS. Inside the National Printing Office, where 67.4 million ballots will be printed for the May 9, 2022 vote.

Screenshot from Comelec video

(1st UPDATE) Manual ballots, which do not have preprinted names of candidates, are printed first

The printing of official ballots for the 2022 polls kicked off at around 7 pm on Thursday, January 20, at the National Printing Office in Quezon City, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) confirmed.

The poll body started with the printing of 60,000 ballots for the local absentee voting (LAV), which is for media practitioners and military and police officers who will cast their ballots from April 27 to 29, or over a week before the May 9 elections.

Comelec starts printing ballots for 2022 polls

“LAV ballots are manual ballots, so there will be no preprinted names of candidates,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez told reporters.

Some 79,000 manual ballots for overseas voting were printed next, followed by around 86,000 ballots for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Jimenez also reported on Sunday, January 23, that the printing of the first automated ballots – still for BARMM – kicked off at around 11:23 am that day.

“Printing will start with the ballots for Lanao del Sur, numbering 685,643 ballots. The total number of BARMM ballots to be printed is 2,588,193,” Jimenez said prior to printing.

Take note that there are two kinds of ballots for the elections in BARMM: first, machine-readable ballots for most of the region; and second, manual ballots with no preprinted names for 63 barangays that have yet to be subjected to redistricting after the region was established in 2019.

While printing of automated ballots has started, the Comelec, as of January 24, has not released the final ballot face, which contains the names of the final list of candidates for the 2022 polls.

Jimenez had said on Wednesday, January 19, that the ballot design was still being finalized, contrary to Comelec Director Lai David’s statement two days earlier that the final ballot face was ready and would be uploaded that same day.

Two national aspirants who have been removed by the poll body from the tentative list of candidates have secured from the Supreme Court a temporary restraining order, which essentially bars the Comelec for now from declaring them as nuisance candidates.

It was unclear whether their names would be included in the final ballot face, and Comelec has yet to issue a statement on the matter.

These aspirants are:

  • Norman Marquez, an animal welfare advocate who filed his candidacy for senator
  • Wilson Amad, who filed his candidacy for vice president

On January 22, Jimenez acknowledged that the TROs issued by the Supreme Court affected the release of the ballot design to the media.

“Because the ballots have not yet been printed when the TROs were released, we have to accommodate them. But the Supreme Court is not a cause of delay,” he said in the Comelec’s radio program with DZRH.

The printing of ballots was supposed to start on Wednesday, but unspecified “technical factors” delayed the activity by a day.

Some 67.4 million ballots will be printed over the course of three months, or until April 21, the printing committee had said.

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Ballots will be printed on time despite COVID-19 curbs, Comelec guarantees

The committee had guaranteed there was a contingency plan in place should a COVID-19 outbreak hit the National Printing Office or should a virus surge slow down operations. –

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers the House of Representatives and the Commission on Elections for Rappler. Previously, he wrote stories on local government units.