Comelec, Smartmatic told to answer petition versus camera ban in polling places

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The Supreme Court (SC) has given the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corporation (Smartmatic-TIM) 10 days to comment on a petition to lift the ban on digital cameras and mobile phones in polling places.

Thus, the merits of the case were not tackled in time for the May 13 midterm elections.

In a recent 3-page notice, the SC also required the petitioners to comply with the procedural requirements within 5 days, including proper verification and certification on non-forum shopping.

The petition was brought by Automated Election System Watch, Buklod Pamilya, Capitol Christian Leadership, Citizens’ Crime Watch, Connecting Businessmen in the Marketplace to Christ, Latter Rain Harvest Ministries, One Vote Our Hope, Upper Room Brethren Church Philippines, Bernard Roque, Diego Magpantay, Dolores Lavado, Ernesto Del Rosario, Jose Lagunzad Gonzales, Juan Pring, Maria Corazon Akol, Melchor Magdamo, Nelson Celis, Pablo Olmeda, Troadio Abitona, Vicente Macatangay and Wendell Unlayao.

The petition argued that the ban on cameras and mobile phones violated the Automated Election law’s mandate that voters be allowed to examine and test the vote-counting machines.

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