Dry run today for ballot printing

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will hold a printing dry run today  for more than 50 million official ballots needed for the elections on May 9.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the initial stages would comprise the dry run.

“We have a build-up process in ballot printing, which we call ramping up. At the start, it will be a bit slow. But at peak, it can average almost a million per day. So this will really be quick,” Jimenez said.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said the dry run is needed, just like operating a factory, to determine the exactness of the various preparatory processes.

This year’s ballots will be shorter than those used in the past two elections, which is about the size of two long bond papers combined lengthwise.

“The size of the ballot is 8½ by 26 inches. This is way shorter than the ones we have been using before,” Jimenez noted.

Bautista said Comelec would be printing ballots using three Canon printers at the National Printing Office.

The number of ballots is equal to the number of registered voters (54,363,844), overseas absentee voters (1,376,067), as well as those needed in the final testing and sealing of the vote counting machines.

“It will be one ballot per one voter. I know there is a call for extra ballots. But it could pose a problem since it can be perceived as a potential tool for poll irregularities,” Bautista said.

Comelec expects to complete the printing of ballots by April 25. Printing was supposed to start last Jan. 26 but was twice postponed.

To be printed at the front of the ballots are the names of candidates for president, vice president, senators, and party-list groups.

The names of candidates for local positions, like mayors, governors, councilors, will be printed at the back of the ballots.

Meanwhile, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will begin today tearing down election posters along EDSA and other key thoroughfares in Metro Manila.

MMDA Chairman Emerson Carlos said at least 100 people would clear electric posts, waiting sheds and communication cables of streamers and posters.

The operation would be done jointly with the Comelec and the police, he added.

Carlos also advised candidates to voluntary remove their election propaganda to avoid the possible filing of charges.

Although those pasted on private properties will be exempted, Carlos said MMDA would also remove it if the owner will ask them to do so.

Bautista said those assigned to the clearing operation must first take pictures of the illegal streamer or poster and send a copy to the Comelec for the possible filing of a case against the erring candidate.

Aside from this, the Comelec also plans to include these in the shame campaign it will run through social media. – With Perseus Echeminada

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