By Rjay Zuriaga Castor
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is urging voters to write the names of their chosen candidates clearly and completely on the official ballots for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE).
Election Officer II Jonathan Sayno said this is to prevent errors and confusion during the vote count and to avoid ballots from being declared as stray votes.
“Dapat full name gid ang isulat. Indi magsulat sang inumber nga na designate sa candidate sa certified voters list kay may ara nga kandidiato nga nagausar sila sang number. Kung number isulat sa balota, ma-invalid ang vote,” he said.
Sayno noted that there are also cases where some voters only write the number of the candidate, its first name or surname, or a first name correctly written but with a different surname and vice versa, among others.
“Ang certified list of candidates pwede ina nga mangin kodigo sang aton mga botante,” he added, emphasizing that voters are strictly not allowed to bring cellular phones inside the polling precincts.
Sayno further emphasized that the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) are not automated, and voters are required to write the names of their candidates.
He reminded the voters to arrive early on the election day, as the voters will be admitted based on the arrival time.
“It’s a first-come, first-served system,” he said. The casting of votes will start at 7:00 a.m. and will end at 3:00 p.m. on October 30.
If there are still voters at 3:00 p.m. who have not yet cast their votes but are within 30 meters in front of the polling place, the poll clerk of the precinct will list the names of the voters and consecutively number them and allow them to vote.
Sayno said there will be a Voters’ Assistance Desk (VAD) to assist voters in checking their precinct numbers, sequence number, and direction to their polling place.
This to avoid overcrowding in the Posted Computerized Voters’ List (PCVL) at the entrance of the classroom that serves as the polling precinct.
Since the elections are synchronized, Sayno said the electoral board in the precinct can identify voters who are eligible to vote in either the barangay and SK elections, or both.
“Our list has an asterisk for those eligible for both elections. Those 31 and older don’t have this mark. And the 15-17 group is on a separate list, voting only for SK,” Sayno explained.
Regarding the possible confusion over the official ballots, Sayno said that the official ballot for the barangay positions is printed in black, while red is used for the SK positions.
The election officer added that illiterate persons, persons with disabilities, and senior citizens who cannot accomplish the ballot by themselves can vote with assistance.
They can be assisted by a relative within the 4th civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, such as parents up to first cousins, or a person who belongs to the same household as the voter. The assistant, however, must be of voting age.
As for the liquor ban, the Comelec stressed that the sale, purchase, serving, and consumption of alcoholic beverages in the city and province are prohibited from October 29 to 30.
The only exceptions to this ban are foreign tourists staying in hotels, resorts, restaurants, and similar establishments certified as “tourist-oriented” by the Department of Tourism.
However, these establishments can continue to serve alcoholic beverages during the liquor ban, provided they have sought an exemption from their local COMELEC offices prior to the said dates.