Comelec to start printing of over 55 million ballots on Monday

By on February 7, 2016


MANILA—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will start the printing of more than 55 million official ballots for the May 9 polls at the National Printing Office (NPO) in Quezon City on Monday.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said that the start of ballot printing will involve the dry run of the actual process.

“There will be several preparatory parts, just like in factories…, so we will most likely have a dry run first this Monday,” he explained.

The Comelec will be printing the ballots using the three Canon printers at the NPO. It will be printing ballots for the country’s registered voters numbering 54,363,844, overseas absentee voters (1,376,067), as well as those needed in the final testing and sealing (FTS) of the vote counting machines (VCMs).

“It will be one (ballot) is to one (voter). I know there is a call for extra ballots. But it could pose a problem since it can be perceived as a potential tool for poll irregularities,” Bautista added.

The poll body chief said that they are looking to finish the ballot printing by April 25.

To be printed at the front face of the ballot are the names of candidates for president, vice president, senators, and party-list groups while the names of candidates for local positions, like mayors, governors, councilors, will likely be printed at the back face of the ballot.

According to Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez, they are ready to commence with the printing.

“We have a buildup process in ballot printing, which we call ramping up. At the start, it will be a bit slow. But, at peak, it can average almost a million per day. So this will really be quick,” he said.

Jimenez added that all the ballots are precinct-specific with a size that will be shorter than the 8½ by 26 inches used in the 2010 and 2013 elections.

“This is way shorter than the ones we had been using before, which was about as long as two long bond papers,” he said.

The original start of the ballot printing was Jan. 26 but it was moved twice — first to Feb. 1 and then to Feb. 8.