Does that viral (unverified) ‘ballot pre-shading’ video mean cheating? Not quite.

May 17, 2019 - 11:12 AM
Filipino voters
Voters during Election Day. (Philstar/File photo)

An unverified video clip of ballots being pre-shaded is making rounds online and alarming Filipinos about the possibility of widespread cheating in the elections.

The video shows several people seemingly pre-shading ballots. Kabataan Partylist posted it on Twitter and claimed the video to have taken place in Lanao del Sur.

The clip, however, is too blurry to see whose name of the candidate was shaded. It does not have a timestamp to show when the video was taken and a location could not be determined.

“Patunay ito ng malawakang dayaan sa natapos na 2019 elections, lalo na sa Mindanao na nasa ilalim ng Martial Law. Maging mapagbantay sa ating boto ngayong halalan!” Kabataan Partylist tweeted on May 15.

It’s difficult to trace the owner of the video. One Twitter user who earlier tweeted about it said that the original video had been deleted.

“This post has been deleted pero ito ay video ng garapalang pandadaya sa Lanao del Sur. Kung nagagawa nila, malamang ginawa din sa iba. Malaking kalokohan ang eleksyong ‘to,” said the user @sitzfleisch_.

She claimed in the thread that the one who captured the incident did not reveal her name for safety.

Election-related violence in some parts of Mindanao was reported by poll watchdog National Citizens’ Movement for Free Election (Namfrel).

The provinces affected are Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Basilan.

Some people in the comments said that this could be a sample ballot for testing.

Based on the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the schedule of the final sealing and testing of official ballots across the country is from May 7 to 10 only.

This task is to be conducted by the electoral board, a three-member team of inspectors and overseers during the elections.

However, in case the electoral board failed to conduct sealing and testing due to supply or technical issues, this could be accomplished on Election Day at 5:30 am.

The conduct of the mid-term polls this year was heavily criticized due to various anomalies during the casting of votes and the vote-counting period.

Some groups perceived that the automated elections this year resulted in more lapses than the last one.

Comelec response

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez assured on Twitter that the poll body will investigate the video’s content but he needs help.

Jimenez later added in another tweet that the short clip lacks important details.

“Notice how little information we have about the video & what it shows,” the spokesman said.

“We don’t know who uploaded it; we don’t know for certain when it was uploaded; no idea who the persons are; we don’t know where the video was shot, etc,” he added.

Despite the missing information, Jimenez said the video will not be immediately dismissed as fake.

He urged the original uploader to come forward to the poll body to help them determine the extent of the electoral fraud in the country should it be true.

“Hindi ka pwedeng kumukha ng isang incident sa isang lugar at i-po-project mo sa buong Pilipinas. Kung ito ay nangyari dito, kailangan nating malaman first and foremost gaano ba kalaki ang operasyong ito at kung ma-identify natin kung saan ‘yung problema, yung ang i-q-quarantine natin na result,” Jimenez said in a press briefing.