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Daily voter turnout surges to 4,200; overvotes also up

28 April 2019

By Vir B. Lumicao
The day's unprecedented turnout led to long queues at the Bayanihan voting centre

Votes cast today, Apr 28, in the overseas voting for Filipinos in Hong Kong reached around 4,200, the highest so far since the start of the month-long political exercise two weeks ago.

The heavy turnout today for the Philippines’mid-term election drove up the total votes cast since Apr 13 to more than 16,400, or close to 19% of the 87,441 registered voters.

The figure for the turnout was disclosed by election supervisor Consul Robert Quintin in a media briefing at Bayanihan Centre where the voting is being held.

But the surge in numbers also saw 28 overvotes, the highest number so far in a single day. Quintin said the overvoting happened because more than 12 tick boxes for senatorial candidates were shaded by each of the voters.
He said no complaints were made because the voters realized they had shaded 13 instead of 12 names. He said some of them copied off a list handed to them outside Bayanihan without realizing 13 names were on it

Two voters reported discrepancies in their votes but did not file a protest, Quintin said.
He added that one voter complained one candidate who she did not vote appeared on her receipt. The voter filed a protest and it was sent to the Commission on Elections.
Another watcher cited a case of discrepancy in the number of voters she had noted on her notebook and the reading on a VCM in the precinct where she was assigned.

But for those issues, the voting went on smoothly despite the unprecedented turnout. The vote-counting machines which used to create the most problems ran smoothly throughout the day.

Seats in each voting precinct are all occupied throughout most of the day
Quintin said the election supervisors and back-up staff have learned to deal with the early-day problems with the VCMs, such as paper jams and ballot rejections

Volunteer marshals said swarms of voters began trooping to Bayanihan Centre in  Kennedy Town starting at midmorning, apparently encouraged by the fine weather.

Voter arrivals slowed to a trickle around noon but picked up after lunch and became a steady stream until voting was declared closed at 5pm.
Seven senior citizens and one person with disability voted on the ground floor of Bayanihan, and were assisted by the chairpersons of their respective precincts and poll watchers.

Quintin said none of the nine men who voted today were seafarers, but he added that in the past days, three of them came to cast their votes.

One watcher asked whether those who have not voted in the past two elections can still vote, and Quintin replied that they can’t because the Comelec has deactivated their registration.

He said one voter realized this when she tried to vote but did not find her name in the certified list of overseas voters.

But he said this was not the end of the line for them. If a deactivated voter wants his or her voting right to be restored, he/she must file at the Consulate a manifestation of intent to vote.

“Pipirma sila, we will send it to Comelec and then wait for their feedback. Kukontakin namin uli ang voter para bumoto,” Quintin said.

He said there are around 3,000 deactivated voters on a list provided by the Comelec.

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