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Wanted: Volunteers Against Poll Fraud - CT

A major daily newspaper had a three-page article on electoral fraud that could be committed in the forthcoming automated national and local elections.

Among the simplest forms of fraud that it said could happen include: 1) disenfranchisement of voters, either through misdelivery of PCOS machines and official ballots or by giving voters ballots with pre-shaded ovals and tampered bar codes; 2) misleading or confusing ballot design; 3) vote shaving or vote padding; and, 4) tampering with election returns through hacking, data alteration or memory switching.

The common belief that Pinoys are naturally pre-disposed to finding loopholes in the law and going round the rules makes the effort of election watchdogs vital in the May 2010 polls. Add to this the possibility that candidates for highly-contested positions could resort to such fraud in order to get what they want.

Thus, it is imperative that the Church find enough trustworthy, God-fearing individuals to volunteer for its election monitoring tasks under the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and the Namfrel’s Bantay Bayan. There is no guarantee that people who regularly pray are free from sin but at least the Church should know their volunteers.

While the credibility of the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy in the province has been dented by the active but unseemly involvement of some members of the clergy in the current political campaign, this should not distract the Church leadership headed by Bishop Manolo delos Santos from its sworn duty to help ensure that the voice of the people would be heard on May 10.

It does not matter that the good monsignor’s call for the candidates not to buy votes, and for the voters not to sell their votes, would fall on deaf ears. What matters most is that the electoral process that begins at the precincts and ends at the canvassing center with the proclamation of winners is not tainted with fraud. For, the ability of our future leaders to guide the people to peace and progress could very well depend on the credibility of the May 10, 2010 elections.

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