By Venice Bautista | Daily Tribune
Commission on Elections (Comelec) Director of Education and Information Department, Atty. James Jimenez has described National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) proposal to list down candidates on ballots in chronological instead of the usual alphabetical order as “nonsense.”
According to Jimenez, the proposal defeats the purpose of transparency and efficiency because it would be more tedious for voters to look for the names of their chosen candidates if they are assigned numbers instead of a more orderly alphabetical arrangement.
“There is no value in terms of the order of names on the ballot. The alphabetical order is the most logical way to list the candidates’ names since people tend to rely on the alphabetical list to mark their candidates,” he said in an interview over the Daily Tribune’s morning show, Gising Na!
“It will be more conducive to errors and a drop in voter participation. Though [Namfrel] hasn’t submitted a formal proposal yet, and this is just my opinion having seen many elections in my time in Comelec,” he said.
Early this week, the poll watchdog suggested to the poll body to study the feasibility of assigning numbers to candidates that would be randomly drawn with the participation of representatives and Comelec officials to “level the playing field.”
“The numbers to be randomly assigned will be based on the number of candidates per position to be voted for,” the group said in a statement.
It added, “As the candidates will be using their assigned numbers for the campaign, pre-election campaigning can be minimized as numbers assigned to the candidates can only be released by Comelec just before the start of the campaign period.”
But Jimenez shot down the suggestion pointing out the proposal is not conducive to an orderly and safe filing process for the Certificate of Candidacy (CoC). The tendency is for candidates to file their CoC first to get their unique assigned numbers the earliest.
He added that Namfrel’s suggestion would make it more difficult for voters to identify their candidates because they are unaware of when the CoC was filed.