Untransmitted election returns may change rankings of senatorial bets — Namfrel
MANILA, Philippines — Election watchdog National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) urged local election officers to transmit unreported election returns (ERs) as it may change the figures in the lower rankings of the senatorial race.
As of 10:16 a.m. on Wednesday, 97.75% or 83,842 of ERs from all over the country have been reflected in the partial, unofficial tally from the Commission on Elections transparency server.
Namfrel noted that the remaining 2.25% unstransmitted ERs may have been delayed due to vote counting machine malfunction, SD card issues, transmission issues and other factors.
The unstransmitted 2.25% of untransmitted ERs are equivalent to 1,930 ERs, according to Namfrel.
“Comelec municipal and provincial election officers should exert all efforts to transmit unreported ERs to reduce the 2.25% untransmitted ERs because the numbers are critical in the senatorial contest where the figures among those in Numbers 10 to 14 positions are very close,” Namfrel said in a statement released Wednesday.
Assuming a 75% voter turnout in last Monday’s elections, more 1 million votes are are still expected to come in.
The uncounted votes could still alter the rankings of the senatorial candidates, particularly the one in the 12th place.
“The margin of votes between the current 10th to the 14th placer now stands at 398,000 well within the 1,043,721 unaccounted votes,” Namfrel said.
As of 11:27 a.m. on Wednesday, partial unofficial tally of the Comelec transparency server shows Bong Revilla on the 10th place with 14,285,517, followed by Koko Pimentel on 11th place with 14,277,974 and Nancy Binay on the 12th spot with 14,238,247.
Ranking 13th and 14th are JV Ejercito and Bam Aquino with 13,995,867 and 13,885,519 votes, respectively.
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The poll watchdog further noted that unstransmitted ERs have been a perennial problem in the country’s automated election system. The Philippines has been using automated elections since 2010.
Namfrel noted that failed transmission rates in the previous automated elections are as follows: 9.5% of 76,528 ERs in 2010, 24% of 78,193 ERs in 2013 and 2.5% of 92,506 ERs in 2016.
“Comelec has repeatedly stated that these missing ERs were eventually ‘aggregated’ in the final count although the process of aggregation was not opened to the public,” Namfrel said.
Aside from lowering the untransmitted rate for the 2019 midterm elections, Namfrel said the poll body should also open the aggregation procedure to the public.
For the 2019 polls, Namfrel declined Comelec’s accreditation to be its citizen’s arm after the poll body refused to grant them access to main server data.
“Namfrel declined the accreditation because in Namfrel’s view it is now time to test the verifiability of the separately provided precinct counts against subsequent transmissions and aggregations,” Namfrel said in a statement last week. — Patricia Lourdes Viray