Mayo 13, 2019

Volunteer-spokesperson, Otso Diretso

LOS ANGELES—According to the COMELEC itself, an estimated 400 to 600 vote counting machines (VCMs) have so far malfunctioned in today’s elections.

This is thrice the number of 188 VCMs replaced in the elections of 2016, and is equivalent to an estimated 500,000 potentially disenfranchised voters.

This is unacceptable, especially since these same VCMs were supposedly tested less than a week ago. One would expect that with greater experience with automated elections, COMELEC would perform better. Instead, the opposite is happening. We demand an explanation.

This is only part of a bigger context where COMELEC has consistently failed to safeguard the citizens’ right to engage in the electoral process:

1. We requested the COMELEC to sponsor debates during the election campaign and were denied;

2. There are numerous reports of unmailed ballots leading to the disenfranchisement of overseas voters;

3. COMELEC named a majority-aligned party as the dominant minority party for these elections, defying the principles of democracy, the law, and common sense;

4. COMELEC has yet to grant us—a major national political party representing the opposition– access to their mirror servers, minutes before polling centers close.

5. Administration-allied candidates have, prior to and during the campaign period, blatantly and rampantly flouted election laws; COMELEC is yet to hold any of them to account.

6. Malacañang has released a baseless narcolist, widely seen as a means of threatening local politicians;

7. The President himself has, on several occasions, demanded that local politicians support administration candidates or otherwise face retribution;

8. These VCMs have malfunctioned in the same elections where the President himself has responded to reports of massive and unprecedented vote-buying by saying it is “normal.” Sino raw ba ang hindi bumibili ng boto.

Simple lang ang sagot namin dito: Sino ba talaga ang may bilyon-bilyon na ginastos sa kampanya, at may kapasidad na bumili ng boto? Hindi po kami ‘yun. All we want is a fair shake.

We look forward to institutions as esteemed as the COMELEC ensuring that the playing field is level, that election laws are effectively enforced, and that the results of these elections truly reflect the will of our people. At the very least, the COMELEC must respond to the very serious questions being raised as regards the conduct of the elections.



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