Comelec to send out sample ballots to registered voters
Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said the sample ballot would inform the voter his or her precinct number and where his or her polling place is.
“He [voter] will already know where he will vote before election day. He will be able to practice voting," Larrazabal said at a press briefing Monday.
The sample ballot will take the place of the regular voters’ information sheet (VIS), which is mainly a list of candidates. The law provides that all registered voters be given a VIS prior to the elections.
Larrazabal said that for this election, the poll body has decided to print the VIS in the form of the 25-inch ballot that would be used on May 10. Unlike the official ballot, the instructions will be in Tagalog.
The sample ballots would be mailed to the voters by April, the election official said.
In a separate interview, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said they have yet to decide who will print the sample ballots, but added that they have allotted 25 centavos for each.
"It will still be bidded out. It does not have to be printed out by the [National Printing Office] but we would prefer if it would be at least an NPO-accredited printer since this is an election form," he said.
He added that they do not want to divide the attention of the NPO from printing the official ballots.
Jimenez allayed fears that the sample ballots may be used to cheat in the elections. He said that unlike the official ballots, the VIS will be in black and white, will not have a precinct identifier, will not be municipality-specific, and will be clearly marked as a sample ballot.
“Walang security marks of any sort. Pag sinubo mo sa makina, agad siyang iluluwa (That doesn't have any security marks. If that is fed to the machine, it will be rejected)," he said.
Jimenez warned candidates not to print sample ballots that might be mistaken for the official ones. He said that the sample ballots can be printed in black and white and can be marked with the words “sample ballots."
He added that they should not bear any marks similar to the security marks of the real ballots. “Mas mainam kung yung kanilang sample ballot ay malinaw na sample ito. Para maiwasan na rin ang confusion."
(It should be clear that their sample ballots are just samples to avoid confusion.)
But Jimenez said that a voter may still bring a sample ballot to the precinct as long as it will only serve as a guide. - KBK, GMANews.TV