Printing of ballots for May 2010 polls starts on Jan. 31 –Comelec

January 28, 2010 10:47 pm 

By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, Jan. 28 — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will start the printing of the ballots for the May 10, 2010 national and local elections on January 31, Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said on Thursday. According to Larrazabal, the printing of the 50,723,734 ballots by the National Printing Office (NPO) is expected to be completed early in April.

Larrazabal said the poll body still has to decide on the final size of the ballot. He added that based on a 30-inch ballot, they will be producing about 700,000 copies daily, but if they decide to have a 25 or 26-inch ballot, they can print as much as 800,000 pieces daily.

“We will be using four Kodak digital printers. It can produce 800,000 ballots (average) a day, but we can speed it up,” he added.

Comelec and Smartmatic-TIM officials toured the members of the tri-media Thursday morning at the National Printing Office in Quezon City, where the printing of the ballots will be conducted.

Aside from the printing machines, the 6,000 rolls of 160 GSM (thick) paper that will be used to produce the ballots are already at the facility.

Larrazabal also said that they will start delivering the ballots in March in far-flung areas of the country.

He explained that the vacuum-sealed ballots will be delivered straight to the municipal or city treasurer’s offices for safekeeping.

To ensure that the ballots are safe from damage, Cesar Flores, Smartmatic president for Southeast Asia, said the package will be sealed.

“The package will be vacuum-sealed. All the air is going to be sipped out and its going to be tight and robust package. That's precisely so it will be able to withstand the different humidity conditions in the field. After these ballots are vacuum plastic sealed, we put them in another package which is tamper proof so once opened you cannot put it back. The intention for that is for the ballots to arrive untouched to the precinct,” Flores explained.

The ballots will be distributed to the board of elections inspectors (BEIs) on election day. (PNA)

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