Darker ovals, bigger boxes pushed after mock polls

MANILA, Philippines – Watchdogs and participants in the mock elections on Saturday, February 13, pushed for voting receipts and darker ovals on ballots, among other things, after the day-long rehearsal for the May 9 elections. 

On its Twitter account, election watchdog Lente urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to make each oval on the ballot “more prominent.”

“Some voters were not able to see clearly the circle, circling instead the number,” Lente said. 

Lente also suggested a larger box for the signature of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) chairperson.

Karen Jimeno, technology provider Smartmatic’s head for voters’ education, pointed out that vote-counting machines (VCMs) rejected some ballots with BEI signatures beyond the box.

Jimeno said this will be fixed with a “minor ballot layout adjustment.”

Quicker voting process 

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista himself made his own suggestions, including speeding up the voting process.

Bautista noted that the first voter in Baseco, Manila, spent 11 minutes to cast his vote. He said the ideal time is 2-3 minutes.

Ang ayaw nating mangyari is masyadong humaba ‘yung pila, eh, kasi nauubusan din ng pasensya ‘yung ibang botante kung kaya’t hindi sila bumoboto,” Bautista told reporters.

(What we want to avoid is for the lines to get too long, because the voters lose their patience, and that’s why they don’t vote.)

Other voters weighed in on the election process. 

In Tuguegarao City, for instance, an election inspector described the vote-counting machines as “friendlier” and “faster.”  (READ: Comelec mock elections begin in 9 provinces)

Barangay chairman Jopy Velasco, however, said he hopes vote-counting machines would display a person’s votes. He said this would mean “more transparency.”

Observers anticipate more suggestions by Monday, February 15, as the Comelec evaluates the mock elections. 

The mock elections came after the Comelec fixed glitches in the voting system, among these the rejection of 1%-2% of ballot papers in a recent test. – Rappler.com


Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.