Facebook posts that have been shared tens of thousands of times claim that the final testing of vote counting machines in the Philippines has revealed that ink shaded next to one candidate's name will seep through the election ballot paper and be counted as a vote for a rival candidate.
The claim is false: the Commission on Elections has not yet tested and sealed the vote counting machines, and the names of the two candidates are on same side of the ballot.
The false claim has circulated widely on Facebook, for example here, where it has been shared more than 9,000 times since it was uploaded on March 3, 2019, and here, where it has been shared more than 10,000 times.
The author of the misleading post claims to be “a VCM technician” in Davao. “VCM” is an acronym for vote counting machine.
Below is a screenshot of the post:
The post contains two photos. The top image shows Lito Lapid, a candidate for the National People's Coalition.
The lower image shows Manuel “Mar” Roxas, a candidate for the opposition Liberal Party.
Lapid and Roxas are both running for one of the 12 senate seats available in the upcoming mid-term elections.
The misleading posts claim that in the final testing and sealing of vote counting machines it was discovered that ink will seep through the ballot papers meaning votes cast for Lapid will be counted as a vote for Roxas.
The final testing and sealing of vote counting machines has not yet been carried out, according to this document from Comelec.
Vote counting machines will be tested and sealed between May 6 and May 10, 2019, the document says on page 22.
According to a template of the ballot that will be used, which can be seen here on the election commission's official website, Lapid is listed No. 40 on the list, Roxas No.57.
The names are both on the same page, as can be seen in this screenshot of the ballot template:
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said in a tweet on March 4, 2019, that the misleading posts were false.
"Magsisinungaling pa, mali-mali pa," he scoffed.
Magsisinungaling lang, mali-mali pa. una, parehong front page ang Lapid at Roxas. Paano “tatagos?” 2nd, hindi magkahilera ang ovals sa front at back page. Paano maging problema ang “tagos?” At, huy! Wala pang final testing & sealing na nagaganap! Masyado ka advance magisip! LOL pic.twitter.com/T4wu8iU4KO— James Jimenez (@jabjimenez) March 4, 2019
— AFP Philippines