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Comelec, partners pick 715 samples for manual audit of 2019 polls

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) and its partners have chosen 715 clustered precincts for random manual audit (RMA) for the May midterm polls.

This developed after the Comelec, together with its partners Philippine Statistics Authority and elections watchdog Lente, among others, administered an electronic draw of the clustered precincts for the RMA across the country.

The RMA is a feature of the automated election system where ballots from randomly selected clustered precincts, or at least one per legislative district, have to be manually inspected and counted. These ballots would then be compared to  see  if the results match the output from the vote counting machine.

The location of the 715 samples are expected to be announced by Comelec at 2 p.m. Monday.

“We have 715 samples [of] clustered precincts. It was the same number we used in 2016. Previously, the idea is to have three samples per legislative district, but what happened was instead of having uniform [number of] samples [for each district, what we did was to proportionally undertake the  sample,” Comelec Commissioner Luie Guia, the poll body’s commissioner heading the RMA team, told reporters.

“Ibig sabihin, if a legislative district has more clustered precinct, then it would get more samples compared to a legislative  which has very few samples. There will be 1 to 6 sample precincts per legislative districts,” Guia added.

There are 243 legislative districts across the country.

Guia also said the Comelec will perform the RMA with integrity.

“What we will commit is we will report what we see, whatever the implication is,” Guia said.

The RMA, per Guia, will start on May 15 and is expected to be done in two weeks time. — RSJ, GMA News