Comelec: Detainees’ votes for local candidates deemed stray votes

By , on May 4, 2016

New Bilibid Prison (Monzonda / Wikipedia)
New Bilibid Prison (Monzonda / Wikipedia)

MANILA—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has decided to separate the ballots of the detainees that contain votes for local candidates.

Comelec Commissioner Luie Guia noted that the votes for national positions in these ballots will be manually counted.

“Since the temporary restraining order (TRO) came in late and our process is already in place, this is the least disruptive system we thought we can have,” said the head of the Committee on Detainee Voting (CDV).

Guia noted that the votes intended for local candidates would not be counted and considered as stray votes by the Special Board of Election Inspectors (SBEI).

On April 19, the Supreme Court issued a TRO disallowing detainees from voting in the local elections but they were allowed to vote for national candidates.

With this, the Comelec has issued a General Instructions (GI) on Detainee Voting (DV).

According to Comelec Resolution No. 10112, only detainee ballots with votes only for national positions shall be fed to the vote counting machines (VCMs).

The ballots containing votes for local positions will not be fed to the machines and will be placed in separate envelopes.

“The envelope containing DV ballots with votes for local positions, if any, shall be handed over by the BEI to the Election Officer. Said envelope shall be transmitted together with other documents to Comelec Manila for the counting of the votes for national positions,” said the Resolution dated May 3.

Comelec data show there are a total of 64,238 detention prisoners, who are registered to vote in a total of 248 detention facilities nationwide.