Comelec looking into ‘exit polls’ done on overseas voters

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 11 2022 11:57 PM

MANILA - An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said the poll body is looking into reports of informal exit polls being done on overseas voting sites since they opened on Sunday.

This following several posts on social media detailing counts of the alleged votes of those who lined up at the polling site in Hong Kong.
Sonia Bea Wee-Lozada, director of the Comelec’s Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) told a forum organized by Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) said these cases have already reached them.

“Given the reports we have received on the ground about these so-called ‘exit polls’ or unofficial polls, we are looking into the matter," she saod.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez also issued a disclaimer on Monday against the so-called exit polls.

“An ‘exit poll’ is not the official tally of votes cast in the 2022 National and Local Elections. Tandaan din na bibilangin lang ang mga boto ng Overseas Voting on May 9, AFTER the close of polls,” Jimenez tweeted. 

While exit polls are allowed under the Fair Election Act or Republic Act No. 9006, the law mandates that results may only be released after polling sites are closed on May 9, election day, and are considered unofficial.

Jimenez added in a separate tweet that voters should be wary of exit polls from unreliable sources being released on social media.

“As a general rule, unless na ang nag labas ng exit poll ay isang kilala at reputable na survey firm, hindi ito reliable,” he posted.

Wee-Lozada said reports such as the alleged exit polls can be referred to the Comelec’s Task Force Kontra Fake News to be investigated.

The Comelec said it would announce how the public can report these instances to them in the coming days.

The official also urged voters against taking social media posts on the election at face value and look beyond the information they give.

“Alam naman po natin, bilang one of the top users ng social media, maraming kababayan natin rely on social media for news, so it’s also important for all of us to exercise our critical thinking skills in discerning the quality of information we get from social media,” Wee-Lozada said. 
The OFOV has been implementing 24/7 operations since February, 2 months before the start of overseas voting.

Wee-Lozada said some overseas posts have yet to receive official ballots, but assured the poll body is doing everything it can to get the ballots there. 

There are close to 1.7 million registered overseas voters for the 2022 polls.