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56-M ballots ready for May 9 polls

15 April 2016

The National Printing Office (NPO) has printed two weeks ahead of schedule all the 56.7 million official and testing ballots for the upcoming elections, according to Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista.
“We are very pleased to announce that the printing of ballots has already been completed despite encountering delays,” Bautista said on April 10 at a press briefing.
Of the 56,772,230 printed ballots, 54.3 million are official ballots while the rest are intended for demonstration and for the final testing and sealing activities. Bautista said this was the most number of ballots ever printed in Philippine electoral history.
The NPO printed ahead the ballots for the 1.38 million overseas absentee voters who started the month-long balloting on April 9.
A total of 1,376,067 Filipinos have registered for the OAV, where voters can pick candidates for national positions—president, vice president and senators, as well as party-list groups.
NPO started printing the ballots on February 18 and finished on April 7, or 18 days ahead of the target completion date
“This was made possible because the 2016 (ballot) was reformatted and is shorter by about five inches compared to the 2010 and 2013 automated ballots,” the Comelec chair said.
During the first ever automated Philippine elections in 2010, it took 81 days to print 50 million ballots and in 2013, 57 days to print 52 million ballots.
The 2016 ballots are shorter at 20 x 8.5 inches, compared to those used in the 2010 elections, which were 27 x 8.5 inches because there were 10 candidates for president, eight for vice president, and 187 for party-list that time. This year, there are five candidates for president, six for vice president and 117 for party-list.
Bautista said printed official ballots undergo a verification procedure using the actual vote counting machines (VCMs) to ensure that the machines will read and count the ballots accurately.
As of April 8, 77.3 percent of the printed ballots have been verified. The Comelec is expecting all ballots to be verified by April 25. Around 300 people are manually verifying the ballots through the VCMs “to make sure that they will be accepted, Bautista said.

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