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DAY 8: ‘Invisible pen’, dot marks and other gaffes uncovered in overseas voting

17 April 2016

Thinking that what she had was a pen that left “invisible” marks, a voter simply swiped its tip on the circles corresponding to her chosen candidates, and was shocked when no names registered on her receipt from the vote counting machine.
Another tested the pen on the ballot itself, leaving a small dot on the top part, which inadvertently wiped out all markings on the paper, including the shaded circles, when it was fed into the counting machine.
Still another put Xs on the circles beside her chosen candidates for president and vice president, then encircled the names of her preferred senators. Again, the ballot was deemed spoiled.
These were just some of the voter errors uncovered in the ongoing overseas voting for the 2016 Philippine national election now underway at the Bayanihan Centre in Kennedy Town.
Day 8 saw a total of 1,157 Filipinos casting their ballots, bringing the total number of voters so far to 7,833.
At a hastily arranged consultation on Apr 16, Consul General Bernardita Catalla appealed to the community leaders present to help voters get familiar with the process, including the use of the VCRs and what the voting receipt was meant to.
Vice Consul Alex Vallespin who is the officer-in-charge of the overseas voting, shared that he also had to fend off a voter’s demand that she be given the receipt from the VCR.
While Hong Kong is still on record as having by far the highest tally for any post in the first week of voting, Consulate officials have called on the community to help get more of the 93,000 registered voters to troop to Bayanihan.
Part of the effort is to get seafarers who are often docked in Hong Kong waters, including those from the Star Cruises fleet, to cast their ballots.
“We intend to go to the seafarers kasi hindi naman sila nakakapunta dito,” said Congen Catalla.
Another is to get as many people as possible to avail of the free shuttle service to Bayanihan from several pick-up points around Hong Kong.
Efforts are also being made to help those inadvertently left out of the certified list of voters for Hong Kong to still cast their ballots by referring their case to the Commission on Elections in Manila.
“Hindi kami ang gumagawa ng desisyon dito kung sino ang pwedeng bumoto at hindi pwedeng bumoto kundi ang Comelec,” Catalla said.
The consultation was held at the request of United Filipinos – Migrante Hong Kong which wanted clarification on poll watching conduct in the precincts, the scheduling of the free buses to Bayanihan, and the replacement of the three VCMs which have broken down. – Daisy CL Mandap


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