How big a dot will PCOS count?

Dean Lozarie

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For the first time, the Comelec discloses the accepted size of ballot shades

MANILA, Philippines – In voting, a fifth of an oval is all you need.

Precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines will count votes on Monday, May 13, even if voters shade the ballot ovals by as little as 20%.

Poll chief Sixto Brillantes Jr revealed this shading threshold on Friday, May 10, after weeks of refusing to disclose the specific value. Previously, all he had said was that the threshold was below 50%.

Brillantes, however, said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) prefers that voters shade the ovals completely. 

Given this threshold, he said PCOS will refuse to read only the smallest of dots. This also means the PCOS machines will likely reject less ballots than in 2010.

Babalik na lang ‘yan ‘pagka talagang less than 20%, which is talagang malabong malabo na,” he added. (The PCOS will only reject the ballot only if the shaded portion is less than 20%, which is already very vague.)

Brillantes explained the threshold was lowered to 20% to avoid a repeat of problems in the 2010 elections. Back then, PCOS machines rejected ballots because of poorly shaded ovals. In cases like these, voters will have to shade the ballots – by at least 20% – and insert these again in the PCOS. –

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