How to Protect Your Vote

Apr 5th 2010

Here’s a crash course on how to report election frauds and violations. In a helpful article in the voters’ education workbook produced by the Communication Foundation for Asia for PPCRV, CFA writer Cara Funk gives some tips on how to spot campaign irregularities or election offenses, and how to report anomalies and protect your vote.

Lesson 1: How to Spot Fraud
Knowing how fraud is committed comes in handy once you are on the look out. According to the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, elections here in the Philippines usually involve several categories of fraud. Here are some examples:

FRAUD HOW IT IS DONE
Misuse of public funds Candidates use state resources and funds for their campaigns
Misreporting of campaign finances Candidates and parties submit incomplete information with their campaign finance reports
Vote buying Votes can be bought from individual voters or groups by offering  money or other incentives

Inking of voter’s  fingers the day before the elections to prevent legal voting

Reverse vote buying Candidates pay known supporters of their opponents not to vote
Voter’s list inflation or multiple registration Double registration, or registration of non-existent or deceased voters
Tampering of ballots or results May be done in various ways, some of which may be harder to commit under fully automated elections.


Lesson 2: How to report fraud
Once you’ve spotted any of the violations mentioned above, don’t panic. Make it a point to document the activity by taking a picture or a video of it, if possible, so you have hard evidence available. Take note of details and how everything happened, including time, place, and names of persons involved. Once you’re armed with evidence, report your case right away to the following authorities:

1) Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV)
You can contact PPCRV through (02) 521-5005 or (02) 524-2855 and report any fraudulent activities you’ve sighted during the campaign period or election. You can also send photos, videos or any evidence of election fraud to their e-mail addresses: parishpcrv@yahoo.com or amb.htv@i-manila.com.ph.

2) National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL)
Go to http://www.namfrel.com.ph/inamfrel/sendreport.htm and fill out their report form. All you have to do is describe what happened. Don’t forget to include details. You can also upload photos and videos that you recorded.

3) Commission on Elections (COMELEC)
You can call COMELEC’s Law Department through (02) 527-1897 or (02) 527-2768 to report any violations you’ve witnessed or observed during any phase of the elections. You can also call their Education and Information Department at (02) 525-9294 or (02) 525-5574.

Lesson 3: How to be a watchdog
If you want a piece of action during the elections and take safeguarding the votes to a whole new level, you can be a pollwatcher. Both PPCRV and NAMFREL welcome volunteers who want to ensure clean and honest elections. Visit PPCRV’s website- http://www.ppcrv.org to check which among the different pollwatching assignments you can be involved in. On this site, you can find links to a pollwatcher’s manual and to registration procedures. You can also register as a volunteer online.

Or, you can check NAMFREL’s site – http://www.namfrel.com.ph/inamfrel/volunteer.htm to know more about the requirements for volunteers. If you meet the qualifications, you can join their team of volunteers by registering online.

An honest and meaningful election starts with YOU. Let us be proactive and be the change we want for our country.

________

Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nikkacorsino/4334364416/


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