There was an anomaly reported in the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) for Filipinos living in Rome, Italy. Voter Emmanuel Reyes noticed two ballots in the envelope and reported this to the COMELEC representative.
The representative informed the people in the precinct that the pack should contain a ballot envelope, paper seal, and instructions. In the case of Emmanuel, he received two ballots under clustered precinct 24A the matter will be reported to COMELEC for their decision. Will it be destroyed or not?
A ballot was handed to Emmanuel, and the other was laid on top of the desk. Onlookers advised the representative to mark the ballot so that this will not be used. Both ballots have the same serial number.
It’s nice to see our kababayans’ vigilance in protecting the vote, the incident was recorded and uploaded on Facebook to inform the public of the goings-on in their locality.
Irregularities during OAV in other countries
There were irregularities reported by netizens through Facebook in several countries when OAV started on April 13, 2019, for 2019 midterm elections. Here are some incidents:
- Two voting machines malfunctioned during the first day of OAV. It was not reading the ballots and other ballots were rejected.
- Some voters were not included in the list and it took some time before other voters’ name was traced.
- Barcode problems.
- The ballot was not properly shaded by the voter.
- Overvoting, the voter wrote down more than the required number of candidates.
There are 3,529 registered votes but only 2,169 ballots were available
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- Some voters were not able to vote because their names were not on the list.
- Some voters have to wait for hours before their names were found and allowed to vote.
- Voters were not able to fill the ballot because the receipt was cut while printing. The names of the affected voters will be submitted to COMELEC for proper disposition.
- Some voters were caught taking pictures of the ballot.
OAV was orderly and fast, no irregularities were reported.
There is no OAV in Damascus, Syria; Tripoli, Libya; and Baghdad, Iraq because of the disorder in these countries.
COMELEC Initiatives to Thwart Fake News about the Elections
The COMELEC formed a group headed by James Jimenez, spokesperson, to counter any fake news that will circulate in social media about the 2019 midterm election and the OAV in foreign countries.
The group has the capacity to remove incorrect information made by false accounts that will tarnish the reputation of the COMELEC. They anticipate unscrupulous people to create false accusations about different types of cheating and blame the failure to the COMELEC.
For instance the OAV in Hong Kong, there were reports that certain candidates were leading in the vote count. An OAV voter will not know the result until the May 13 elections because votes will be counted only after the precincts close.