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Namfrel to Comelec: Transmit 1 M votes
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Namfrel to Comelec: Transmit 1 M votes

MANILA, Philippines, May 16 ------ Poll watchdog National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) has called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) “to exert all efforts to transmit the unreported election returns (ERs),” saying over one million unaccounted votes are still a game changer in the senatorial standing. “Comelec municipal and provincial election officers should exert all efforts... to reduce the 2.25 percent 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 press statement issued yesterday.

Namfrel said the 2.25 percent or 1,930 untransmitted local ERs translate to 1,043,721 votes, assuming a 75 percent turnout of voters last Monday. “This number is large enough to reorder the positions in the senatorial race and, most importantly, define without doubt the number 12 or the last slot placer,” Namfrel added. The margin of votes between the current 10th to the 14th placers in the senatorial race now stands at about 398,000 – well within the 1,043,721 unaccounted votes.

Namfrel derived its 1,043,721 figure by dividing the 61,843,750 total number of registered voters nationwide to the 85,769 total number of clustered precincts, giving an average of 721 voters per clustered precinct. Namfrel explained that assuming a 75 percent voter turnout rate, there would be an average of 541 votes per ER or per clustered precinct. “If there are still 1,930 untransmitted ERs with 541 votes per ER, you get a total unreported 1,043,721 votes,” Namfrel said.

The poll watchdog said the delay in the transmission of ERs could be due to the old problems such as the malfunction of vote counting machines (VCMs), secure digital card glitches and other transmission issues. Based on Namfrel’s records, failed transmission rates were at 9.5 percent of 76,528 ERs in 2010; 24 percent of 78,193 ERs in 2013; and 3.5 percent of 92,506 ERs in 2016. Namfrel pointed out that while the Comelec has repeatedly stated that the missing ERs were “aggregated” in the final count, the process of aggregation was not open to the public. “Untransmitted ERs are a perennial problem in the country’s Automated Election System... In this election, however, not only should the 2.25 percent untransmitted rate be reduced to the lowest level possible, but Comelec should also open the aggregation procedure to the political parties, election monitoring bodies and to the general public. Every vote counts,” Namfrel said.