THE COMMISSION on Elections last March 7 assured voters that the vote counting machines for the May 9 national elections were “accurate, verifiable and transparent.”

Comelec executive assistant Kriselle Balmes said the machines have an audit log and can provide on-screen verification that will allow voters to check their ballot entries.

“Ballots [can be] identified by the machines and are rejected if fake or invalid, previously scanned, for another precinct, or with ambiguous marks,” Balmes said in a forum at the Beato Angelico Gallery.

The “voter verifiable audit trail,” a new feature of the machine, enables the printing of a receipt containing the list of entries on each ballot. However, only the on-screen verification feature will be used for the upcoming elections, Balmes said.

There are 54,363,844 registered voters and 92,509 election-day precincts, according to Comelec. Each precinct will have a counting machine.

Paolo Domondon, representative of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) that has approximately 17,000 volunteers, discussed his group’s voter-education efforts. “We try to create a strong link between how your vote affects your own life,” he said.

Domondon enumerated the three major advocacies of PPCRV namely: voter education, poll watching and parallel unofficial tallying of votes.

The forum, which had the theme “Make a choice, have a voice,” was part of the Aktiboto University-wide voter education initiative, and was held in coordination with Ideas That Matter, an organization of advertising students from the College of Fine Arts and Design.

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