The Manila Times - Shady shading scheme

By Jojo Robles | The Manila Times

WHY is it so important for the camp of Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo to count votes in her favor even if the shading in the space allotted for voting is less than 25 percent? Well, if you’re mass-producing votes for a simple counting machine to read regardless of how little the shading is, I think it’s very important, indeed.

The latest news from the recount being conducted by the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, has Robredo and her supporters asking the Commission on Elections to count in Robredo’s favor even suspect inadequately shaded ballots. They’ve even supposedly gathered the signatures of 10,000 voters from Robredo’s home province of Camarines Sur demanding that this be done, on the ground that these voters would be disenfranchised if the PET revisors reject these ballots, which were counted in her favor during the May 2016 elections.

Of course, Robredo and her backers are implying that the Camarines voters whose choices may not be included in the recount are so incompetent that they have to have the threshold of shading (which the PET set at 50 percent) lowered to 25 percent just for them. This after Comelec spent so much money informing voters all over the country that the egg-shaped spaces beside the candidates’ names have to be completely shaded for them to be counted at all.

But the PET already lowered that threshold to 50 percent, which is half of the supposed complete shading
required. Now Robredo and her camp want a lot more – which makes the whole exercise ridiculous, to say nothing of being thoroughly insulting to Camarines Sur’s voting population.

Robredo and her group are citing a supposed Comelec letter that allowed the 25 percent shading, the existence of which Comelec quite naturally denies. And while the vice president’s fans seem to know all about this supposed letter, no one has come up with a copy of it, this late in the day.

As for me (and millions of voters, I suppose), all I know is what Comelec keeps reminding everyone before each automated election, which is to shade each space completely and clearly, so as not to confuse the machines it uses into not counting my choice and voiding my ballot. I also suspect that if you’re in such a hurry to manufacture votes for a particular candidate using so many blank ballots, of course you’ll want to use as little energy for each ballot by limiting the shading to the bare minimum.

But that’s just me – and the millions who didn’t vote for Robredo, apparently, in Camarines Sur and everywhere else in the country.