Voting by mail 'easiest system to cheat', says Sotto

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 09 2020 10:27 AM

MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III rejected Monday proposals that would allow some voters to cast their ballots via mail during the 2022 presidential elections, saying the scheme is prone to cheating.

Senate Committee on Electoral Reform chair Imee Marcos earlier filed a bill seeking to allow elderly, pregnant, disabled and indigenous Filipinos to vote by mail.

"I'm not in favor. It's the easiest system of voting to cheat," Sotto told reporters in a text message."

"Sino tatanggap? Nationwide? Saan padadala, post office? Kailan bibilangin? Sino bibilang? Paano kung may mag-leak ng results whether true or fake? Any of those procedures can be cheated!" he said.

(Who will receive it? Will it be nationwide? Where will they send it, post office? When will they count it? Who will count it? What if there's someone who leaks the results whether true or fake? Any of those procedures can be cheated!)

Under Marcos' Senate Bill No. 1870 or the Voting by Mail Act, elderly, pregnant, disabled and indigenous Filipino voters may cast their votes by mailing "packets containing the official and other election paraphernalia" to the Commission on Elections.

"The procedure for postal voting, must take all measures to prevent vote tampering, and ensure that ballots are tracked through mechanisms such as but not limited to serial numbered stubs during their delivery to the voter, reception, storage, and canvassing to ensure the integrity and sanctity of the ballots," the bill read.

Marcos said the new system needs to be in place so "that the most vulnerable sectors of our society will be protected from COVID-19 while ensuring that their right to suffrage remains unimpeded by the present circumstances."

While the proposed postal voting scheme is similar to the United States, Sotto's worries stem from frequent accusations of electoral fraud in the Philippine set up.

Marcos' brother, former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., continues to question his loss to Vice President Leni Robredo in the 2016 elections more than 4 years after the former Naga representative defeated him.

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