SC orders Comelec to enable VCM vote verification for May polls

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supreme court In a press conference, SC Public Information Office (PIO) chief and spokesman Theodore O. Te said the tribunal granted the petition for mandamus filed by former Senator Richard Gordon. The SC also ordered in its decision that after voter verification, receipts should be deposited in a separate ballot box and not taken out of the precinct. The decision was written by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen. Gordon earlier asked the SC to compel the Comelec to activate the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) feature of the automated election system. Gordon, who was the principal author of Republic Act No. 9369 or the Automated Elections System Law, and the Bagumbayan-VNP Movement filed a 24-page petition for mandamus. The petition was filed after the Comelec announced that it unanimously decided against using the VVPAT because it could be used as a tool for vote-buying and would also extend the voting period by seven hours. In the petition, Gordon argued that the VVPAT system allows voters to verify if their ballots were cast correctly through the issuance of a receipt, showing the names of candidates that they voted for. “Under Section 6(e) of Republic Act No. 9369, which amends Section 7(c) of Republic Act No. 8436 (The Automated Election System Law), one of the minimum system capabilities of the automated election system is that there must be a provision for Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT),” Gordon argued. “The VVPAT is therefore a critical and indispensable security feature of the automated voting machine. Regrettably, however, the inclusion of this mandatory requirement under the automated election laws was previously and flagrantly violated by Respondent during the 2010 and 2013 Elections,” he added. Gordon further argued the provisions of the law are clear and unequivocal in mandating the use of the VVPAT and it is not up to the Comelec whether or not to implement it. — PNA ]]>

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