900,000 UNABLE TO VOTE - SWS
MANILA, May 15, 2004 (STAR) A major foul-up of official voter lists left nearly a million people unable to cast their ballots in the May 10 elections, an independent pollster estimated yesterday.
Social Weather Stations (SWS) has projected in an exit poll that President Arroyo will win by three million votes over her main rival, movie star Fernando Poe Jr.
A cumbersome manual count, however, means the official winner of Monday’s polls will not be known for weeks.
SWS said it estimated from its exit poll that some 900,000 registered voters were unable to vote because they could not find their names or assigned voting precincts on the official rosters.
"In aggregate terms, SWS estimates that 36.5 million visited the polling places, of whom 2.5 percent or about 900,000 could not find their names, leaving 35.6 million able to vote," it said in a statement.
SWS based its estimate on interviews of 5,675 registered voters, of whom 1,048 did not vote. Of those who did not vote, 116 said they could not find their names on the rosters, which gave an estimated 900,000 disenfranchised voters nationwide.
Dropped names from voters’ lists have served as a lightning rod for opposition protests. Poe spokesmen allege many of his supporters were disenfranchised.
The government has conceded there were shortcomings in preparations for the vote, including the drawing up of a computerized list of voters designed to weed out fraud.
SWS estimated the voter turnout at 81.8 percent of the 43.5 million registered voters, though the Poe camp estimates the actual turnout was much lower. — AFP
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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