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Comelec to hold mock elections in several places

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - To ensure a smooth conduct of the May 2013 elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to conduct mock polls in various places in the coming year.

Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento yesterday said the mock polls will help the poll body identify and correct problems that may crop up during the elections.

“That’s the purpose of this, to see the shortcomings, flaws that will have to be addressed so that there won’t be a repeat of them in the regular elections,” Sarmiento said.

According to him, Republic Act No. 9369 mandates the conduct of mock polls days before the elections.

Sarmiento said that during the mock elections, the poll body will test if the signal in the area is good or not so there won’t be a problem in the transmission of results come election day.   

Sarmiento said that at this time, the Comelec is still discussing the possible areas where they would conduct the mock polls.

“There are suggested areas in Luzon, the Visayas, Mindanao, and in the National Capital Region (NCR) but it’s not yet final,” Sarmiento said.

In a previous interview, however, Sarmiento mentioned Maguindanao, Naga and Camarines Sur as among the possible areas where they will conduct the mock elections.

In the 2010 elections, the Comelec also conducted mock polls and used the names of national heroes and popular brands in the training ballot.

Polling precincts reduced

The Comelec has also decided to reduce the number of clustered polling precincts in the 2013 polls that will be appraised by the Random Manual Audit Team (RMAT).

Comelec’s Resolution No. 9595 clarified that only one clustered precinct per legislative district will be audited by RMAT and this will be drawn randomly using an automated random selection program.

RMAT chair and Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) head Henrietta de Villa said they decided to heed what is mandated under RA No. 9369 on the number of polling precincts that should be audited.

“We will be sticking to the law this time. In 2010 when we audited five clustered precincts per legislative district, we listened to (many people). But now we will implement what is in the law – which is only one clustered precinct per legislative district,” De Villa said in a telephone interview.

Random manual audit was done during the country’s first automated polls in 2010 to determine the accuracy of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.

But De Villa said that unlike in 2010, they will no longer be using “tambiolo and ping pong balls” to choose the precincts to be audited because this process is time consuming.

Instead, an automated selection process will be used.

The training of RMAT auditors will start in February to ensure the smooth operations of the group, she said.

“We will start the training this coming February up to March. In 2010, there was no case-to-case training. But now we will be doing that and the way they will be trained will be personally, individually,” she said.

Under the resolution, the RMAT members shall be teachers with “preference to those who have already served in elections.” – With Sheila Crisostomo

 

                                                        

BUT DE VILLA COMELEC COMELEC COMMISSIONER RENE SARMIENTO DE VILLA ELECTIONS MOCK NAGA AND CAMARINES SUR NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL SARMIENTO
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