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PH Embassy in Seoul assures clean polls amid vote receipt mishap

/ 05:31 PM April 13, 2016

The Philippine Embassy in Seoul has assured overseas voters in South Korea of clean and honest elections despite the concern of a Filipino who encountered a problem in his vote receipt.

Vice consul Ella Karina Mitra took to Facebook on Tuesday to explain the case of a certain Mengmeng Ramos, a machine operator from Tarlac who now lives in Incheon, who complained that his votes for president, vice president, and senators were nowhere to be found on his receipt.

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READ: SC orders Comelec to issue vote receipts

“Nagboto po aq kanina sa phil.embassy seoul 4-10-2016 wala pong president at vice president senador..na binasa ang machine nila kung di party list lang po ang nasa resibo,” Ramos wrote on Facebook on Sunday.

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But Mitra clarified that Ramos’ concern was an “isolated incident” of paper jam that resulted in unreadable black line on the vote receipt.

“For the information of all, after the voter feeds the ballot into the vote-counting machine, it will print a receipt. What happened during Mr. Ramos’ turn was, the paper got jammed in the receipt slot. The machine was able to print the receipt but since the paper was stuck, the upper portion of the printout was unreadable,” said Mitra, adding the black line appeared as the lines got printed over several times.

The vice consul said the paper jam did not mean that Ramos’ votes for president, vice president, and senators were not counted by the machine.

“When the paper was finally unstuck, what remained visible and readable was his vote for the party-list. We explained to Mr. Ramos that this doesn’t mean that his vote for president, vice president, and senators didn’t go through. As long as his ballot is read by the machine, his vote should be (and will be) counted. The receipt is printed out and shown to voters so they could check if there are any discrepancies,” she added.

Despite the incident, Mitra assured overseas Filipino voters that the embassy was “doing its utmost” to ensure that their votes were protected and appealed to the public to understand the situation and “not to be too quick to jump to unfair and baseless conclusions.”

“Just like you, we are also for clean, honest, and transparent elections. We value democracy just like any other Filipino … The case of Mr. Ramos is an isolated incident. It happened once and hopefully, it will not happen again. We have reported this to Comelec (Commission on Elections) gaya ng pinangako namin kay Mr. Ramos,” Mitra said.

“Before the start of the elections, we tested the machines. We conducted mock elections and compared automated results versus manual tally. We did this in front of non-embassy people for 15x and for more than 8 hours. Again, this is to ensure that the machines are working and configured properly,” she added.

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Ramos has welcomed the embassy’s explanation on the incident.

“Ok na po, nag-jam lang daw ‘yung pagprint sa resibo. Counted naman daw po (‘yung boto),” he told INQUIRER.net. RC

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TAGS: Seoul, vote-counting machines, voting receipt
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