SWS: Fewer Filipinos saw irregularities in midterm polls

John Gabriel Agcaoili, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 11 2019 06:23 PM

MANILA - Fewer Filipino voters witnessed election irregularities during this year's midterm elections compared to the May 2016 polls, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released Wednesday showed. 

Some 10 percent of the total 1,200 respondents claimed they saw election irregularities such as vote-buying, harassment of voters, flying voters or voters registered in multiple precincts, distortion of vote counts, bribes, and violence. 

This was a decrease compared to the 2016 presidential elections, where 19 percent of respondents in a similar survey claimed they personally witnessed election irregularities. 

Those who read or heard about election fraud from reliable sources also fell from 23 percent in 2016 to 15 percent this year. 

Those who "personally" witnessed harassment of voters fell slightly from 4 percent in 2016 to 2 percent in 2019. Those who read or heard about it also fell from 9 percent to 4 percent.

Respondents who complained of flying voters fell slightly from 4 percent in 2016 to 2 percent in 2019. Those who read or heard about it fell slightly from 7 percent to 4 percent.

Those who said they witnessed cheating in the counting of votes fell slightly from 3 percent in 2016 to 1 percent in 2019. Those who read or heard about it also fell from 11 percent to 3 percent.

Voters who "personally" witnessed voters being bribed not to vote fell from 5 percent in 2016 to a mere 1 percent in 2019. Those who read or heard about it fell also from 11 percent to 4 percent.

Violence on election day complaints fell slightly from 3 percent in 2016 to 1 percent in 2019. Those who read or heard about it also fell from 6 percent to just 1 percent.

TOP COMPLAINT: LONG LINES TO POLLING CENTERS

The top complaint among voters, meanwhile, was the long lines to voting precincts, with more noting the problem this election year. 

The survey said that 53 percent of respondents complained of long queues in the last elections, a slight increase from 51 percent in 2016.

Others complained of malfunctioning voting machines: highest in Mindanao at 22 percent of respondents, followed by Balance Luzon at 15 percent, Metro Manila at 13 percent, and Visayas at 11 percent.

Complaints about the voting machines not reading their ballots were also highest in Mindanao at 6 percent, followed by Metro Manila at 5 percent, Balance Luzon at 3 percent, and Visayas at 3 percent.

Mindanao respondents also had the most complaints about violence in voting centers with 7 percent of respondents, followed by Visayas at 5 percent, and Metro Manila at 1 percent. There was no such complaint among respondents in Balance Luzon. 

The number of those who did not find their names in the voters' list was highest in Metro Manila at 6 percent, followed by Mindanao at 4 percent, Balance Luzon at 2 percent, and Visayas at 1 percent. 

The survey also showed that the number of those who did not encounter any voting-related problem during the May 2019 elections was highest in Metro Manila at 47 percent, followed by the Visayas at 40 percent, Balance Luzon at 31 percent, and Mindanao at 30 percent.

The survey also showed that the duty to vote as a Filipino was the top sentiment behind casting votes. This was highest among respondents in Mindanao at 92 percent, followed by the Visayas at 89 percent, Balance Luzon at 86 percent, and Metro Manila at 85 percent.

Other voters saw elections as "a good way of making the government responsive to the people," the "second most common meaning given to election day in all areas," SWS said. 

This was highest in Balance Luzon at 46 percent, followed by Mindanao at 37 percent, Metro Manila at 32 percent, and the Visayas at 32 percent.

The survey was conducted from June 22 to 26 through face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adults- 300 each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao- with sampling error margins of ±3 percent for national percentages, and ±6 percent each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.