Comelec completes printing of over 63M ballots

Teopisto Elnas, Deputy Project Director of the Project Management Office (PMO) for the upcoming polls.

MANILA — An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday reported that they already finished the printing of over 63 million ballots for the May 13 midterm elections.

Teopisto Elnas, Deputy Project Director of the Project Management Office (PMO) for the upcoming polls, noted that they have started shipping the official ballots initially to far-flung areas.

“As far as the deployment of official ballots is concerned, we are in our third day of dispatch. The priority areas like Autonomous in Region Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Sulu, Basilan, and Tawi-Tawi and of course Batanes area. We already started deployment and it will end on May 4,” he said in a press briefing. “It is expected that by May 4, the official ballots are already in place in the different municipality and city treasurers’ office.”

He said of the 63 million ballots printed, a total of 61,843,746 are local ballots, the rest will be used in the final and testing sealing (FTS) of the vote counting machines (VCMs), for demonstrations, among others. The figure does not include the over 1.8 million ballots for overseas voting.

He added that they expect the distribution process to be completed by May 4.

The printing of the ballots started last February 9 at the National Printing Office.

Meanwhile, Elnas said they will be using 85,000 VCMS in the same number of clustered precincts nationwide in the May polls. The number of VCMs is lower than the 92,000 used in the 2016 presidential polls.

“We only have 85,000 clustered precincts and of course we are 1,000 maximum number of registered voters per clustered precinct. In 2016, our maximum number was only 800, that’s why we reached 92,000,” he said.

He reported that they already finished the deployment of all VCMs to regional and local hubs, which are strategically located for purposes of deploying them before the FTS.

The FTS is set to be held from May 6 until May 10. The process is to test the VCMs before they are transferred to the voting centers on election day.

Elnas added that they have some 7,000 VCMs as a contingency which will be deployed to provincial election supervisors. (PNA)