Thousands disenfranchised due to lack of biometrics

By Juli Ann M. Sibi, Rene F. Alima |May 09,2016 - 11:56 PM

AROUND 8,500 voters in Toledo City were disenfranchised because of their failure have to their biometrics taken by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

According to Toledo City Election Officer Gallardo Escobar, the disenfranchised voters trooped to his office and insisted that they be allowed to vote because they were able to cast their votes during the last elections in 2013.

The disenfranchised voters came from different barangays in Toledo City and some of them no longer found their names in the voters’ list.

They were mostly residents of Toledo City but were working in Cebu City. Others were Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) who specifically came home to vote but found out that their names had been deleted from the voters’ list.

Escobar had instructed the teachers serving as Board of Election Inspectors that voters without biometrics should not be allowed to cast their votes.
There are 100,300 registered voters in Toledo City.

In Cebu City, lawyer Michael Angelo Sarno, Cebu City south district Election Officer, said there were also hundreds of disenfranchised voters who were not allowed to vote, either because they did not have their biometrics taken or were deactivated because they failed to vote in the last two elections.

He, however, did not have the exact number of disenfranchised and deactivated voters.

The same situation was also experienced in the north district.

Sarno said voters who failed to have their biometrics taken were not deleted from the voters’ list but were not allowed to vote and were advised to have their biometrics taken at the Comelec office.

Meanwhile, Escobar revealed that the ballots of four persons from Barangay Sangi and Barangay Daanlungsod could not be read by the vote-counting machine (VCM) because the BEI allowed the voters to stamp their thumbprints on the ballots.

“It was an honest mistake,” said Escobar.

The four voters were given replacement ballots.

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