#AnimatED: Credible election as final arbiter

In the wake of bumblings by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) – the massive data leak and doubts on ballot replacement – public confidence in our poll body is sagging.

The Comelec has assured us that the sensitive data of at least 54.4 million voters which have been compromised cannot be used in cheating : they have printed a list of voters that shows the voters' photos and election inspectors will personally verify the voters’ identities.

While we want things to work out on election day, anxieties remain. After all, this is the first time that such a huge leak has happened in the country’s election history.

The other new factor that we have to contend with is the rule on ballot replacement. It is not comforting that the Comelec was not unanimous  in its approval.

While the intention seems fair – that ballots which are rejected by the machine through no fault of the voters will be replaced – it could open up opportunities for discretion. The rule has to be iron-clad and election inspectors have to be unbending in following it.

Moreover, if the ballots run out, voters can be disenfranchised. 

Comelec says that only one replacement will be allowed and there are enough ballots to go around. We will take the word of the Comelec.

But it needs to redeem itself on May 9 and beyond. In a race as tight as this, the credibility of the elections will be the final arbiter.

The political environment is charged enough, and the least the voters deserve is a poll body that will buckle under pressure or political noise.

There should be the least doubt about fraud; the least confusion over voter disenfranchisement; and the least disorder about voters’ receipts.

There should be least doubt about the Comelec's independence and its officials' loyalty to the public above vested interests. And there is no better proof of this than their actions before, during and immediately after May 9.

In this momentous undertaking, an addition to the annals of Philippine elections, we call for effective leadership by the Comelec, a strong sense of duty of all the troops—teachers, watchers, inspectors—and the eternal vigilance of the election watchdogs, media, and citizens. 

We cannot afford to fail. – Rappler.com