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Phone use now banned in voting rooms at Bayanihan

15 April 2019


By Vir B. Lumicao
No photo description available.
Voting rooms now have these notices about the ban on phones and cameras

The use of cellphones and cameras is no longer allowed inside voting precincts at Bayanihan Centre, where the overseas voting for Filipinos in Hong Kong is being held.

Members of the special board of election inspectors (SBEIs) started banning the devices today, Apr 15, after questions were raised yesterday about some voters openly using their telephones, supposedly to copy off them the names of their favored candidates.

From day one, voters had been told that the use of telephones was not allowed inside the voting area. But they can bring in slips of paper with the names of their preferred candidates, should they need them as reminders.
Meanwhile, the number of voters on the first weekday of voting has noticeably dropped, but the exact turnout for the day could not be immediately ascertained. A Consulate officer said only Consul General Antonio Morales should be giving updates.

However, another officer noted that there were more arrivals in the afternoon than in the morning and expressed hope that at the end of the day, the turnout could reach 500.
In the first two days of the election, about 2,500 registered voters had cast their ballots, said Congen Morales.

Today, Bayanihan was noticeably quiet, with many voters arriving singly, although by the afternoon, a few had come in pairs, or in big groups.

A lone voter inside an election precinct


Unlike yesterday when about 2,500 people voted, there was no machine malfunction, perhaps because fewer ballots were fed into them.

“Siguro hindi nakayanan yung dami ng mga tao kahapon kaya nagkaproblema. Ngayon naman ay maayos ang mga VCM,” said one inspector.
Poll watchers were also a lot fewer than over the weekend, with only five representing various political parties and party-lists.

A watcher for the Liberal Party, the only major party accredited in Hong Kong, rued that the SBEIs still refused to provide the total figure on the VCMs from the previous day’s vote.



Outside, exit poll takers from the Duterte Diehard Supporters said one voter had complained that she had to feed her ballot twice into the machine before it was accepted.

They warned voters to make sure the machines reflect the names of those they voted for, saying that in the past election, “nagkaroon ng dayaan.”

However, during a briefing four months ago by Commission on Elections official Rowena Guanzon, the same DDS group was stumped when asked how could there have been cheating when their candidate won the vote.
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