Press Release
April 12, 2010

Gordon to Comelec: Don't allow sample ballots, surplus of watchers

Tagbilaran, Bohol--Bagumbayan presidential candidate Sen. Richard Gordon today urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to prohibit the distribution of sample ballots and to limit the number of poll watchers in precincts on election day.

Gordon said the Comelec should not allow the distribution of sample ballots because it could be used to jam the machines, besides being costly and unfriendly to the environment.

"I'm calling on Comelec Chairman (Jose) Melo not to allow sample ballots. I've told them that before in my hearings at the Senate. That's an unnecessary expense. They could use that to jam the machine to delay the elections. Besides, what is complicated about shading a circle?" he said.

"It's environmentally-unfriendly, ostentatious and it's an insane misuse of valuable resources that could go to the poor. And it will definitely be a tool for cheating, for vote-buying. Magbibigay kunwari ng sample ballot pero may butas yun, ipapatong dun sa papel, then the voter would shade," he added.

Gordon explained that sample ballots are unnecessary since people would no longer have to write down the names of the candidates they would vote for. Instead, they will only have to shade the circle beside the name of their chosen candidate.

The Bagumbayan Party standard bearer also asked the Comelec to prohibit multiple poll watchers and limit it to only one per precinct.

"May I also request the Comelec to limit the so-called poll watchers because it can only be used, again, as a form of vote-buying. There should only be one, instead of 7 or 20, watcher, mabilis na eh, wala ng magbabasa. Multiple watchers are paid in the guise of protecting the integrity of the elections," he said.

Gordon, author of the Amended Automated Elections System (AES) Law, said that although the AES solves the problem of wholesale cheating, there are still other forms of cheating, such as vote-buying, which no computerized machine can avert.

"The most ridiculous thing about our country is that we look at elections as improving the economy because corruption money is distributed all over the place--jueteng money, drug money, name it, it's being distributed all over," he said.

"That is why I call on the Comelec, I call on all the commissioners, do not allow sample ballots; do not allow a surplus of poll watchers," he added.

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