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Untoward incidents at your Comelec precinct on Election Day? Here’s what to do

By Brooke Villanueva Published May 08, 2022 2:56 pm

We’re all hoping to have a seamless process as possible on Election Day, but it’s important to be ready if you encounter untoward incidents at your polling precinct.

PhilSTAR L!fe reached out to James Jimenez, head of the Commission on Elections’ education and information department, for a quick guide on what to do in case you are faced with these hiccups on election day.

If your vote-counting machine screws up while you’re casting your ballot, Jimenez said there are two options that can be done. “You can either wait for the VCM to be available, or vote and leave your ballot with the electoral board for later feeding into the VCM.” 

What if the ballot given to you is pre-shaded? “Return it immediately and ask that the matter be recorded in the minutes of voting,” he shared. 

“If someone offers to buy your vote, do not accept the offer,” said Jimenez, suggesting that you report the incident to COMELEC’s Kontra Bigay Task Force. You may report it to [email protected].

The Kontra Bigay Task Force focuses on the assistance and filing of complaints on vote-buying and vote-selling. “Any person found guilty of any election offense under this code shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years and shall not be subject to probation,” according to the guidelines. 

“In addition, the guilty party shall be sentenced to suffer disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage. If he is a foreigner, he shall be sentenced to deportation which shall be enforced after the prison term has been served. 

“Any political party found guilty shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than ten thousand pesos, which shall be imposed upon such party after criminal action has been instituted in which their corresponding officials have been found guilty.”

“In case of commotion or untoward incident at your precinct, steer clear,” Jimenez said. 

Here are some hotline numbers for questions, concerns, and incident reports: