The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has released the guidelines for the conduct of the random manual audit (RMA) for next year’s elections.

In Resolution 10738 promulgated on Thursday and released on Friday, the poll body said at least one clustered precinct in every legislative district shall be randomly selected for the RMA.

“The actual number of precincts to be selected in a legislative district shall be determined by proportional allocation, that is, based on the number of clustered precincts a legislative district has in proportion to that of all the other legislative districts in the country,” it said.

“For purposes of the 9 May 2022 National and Local Elections, the maximum total number of clustered precincts to be selected shall not be more than 759.”

The RMA will start not later than five days after election day and shall be held at a venue within the National Capital Region to be determined by the Random Manual Audit Committee (RMAC).

The poll body said the selection and evaluation of the location and facilities to be designated as the RMA Center shall primarily consider compliance with the safety protocols to be determined by the New Normal Committee of the Comelec, under the New Normal Manual, national health guidelines, and consultations with private and public health practitioners.

“The RMA shall be conducted within a safety bubble set-up. All direct participants in the audit shall be mandated to comply with mobility restrictions set by the RMAC,” it said.

“All participants, while inside the safety bubble, shall be required to wear face masks always, except when drinking and eating; maintain physical distancing of at least six feet while inside the venue, and regularly sanitize their hands,” the Comelec added.

The committee is composed of the Consolidation Canvassing System Operator recognized by the Comelec, the Philippine Statistics Authority, and the Comelec.

The RMA is a manual examination of the ballots to validate the count of the vote-counting machines. (PNA)

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