Faulty vote-counting machines hound voting day in PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 9) — Polling precincts have identified faulty vote counting machines several hours into the election day.

Over 1,800 malfunctioning machines were reported mostly for paper jams, rejecting ballots, and faulty scanners. As of 10 a.m, these technical glitches have been resolved on site according to Commissioner George Garcia.

Commissioner Marlon Casquejo, on the other hand, clarified that only 143 defective VCMs need to be replaced and sent to repair hubs.

"Rest assured 'yung narereport sa media, isolated cases na hindi makaka-affect sa integrity ng ating elections," he said in a media briefing.

[Translation: Rest assured the problems reported to the media are isolated cases. It will not affect the integrity of our elections.]

There are over 106,000 VCMs deployed nationwide that underwent a final accuracy test before the May 9 polls, while 1,900 contingency machines had been put in place to address malfunctions.

If there is a faulty VCM, the trained onsite technical staff will try to repair it in the polling precinct. If unresolved, the issue will be reported to Comelec's national technical support center for assistance. If it's still not fixed, a back-up VCM will be deployed.

Voters have two options if they encounter problems with the VCM. They can either wait for the repair or sign a waiver to leave the ballot under the care of the electoral board and under the watch of political party representatives, citizen's arm, and poll watchers.

Ballots will be kept in a separate folder and fed into the machine just before voting period ends.

"Wala pong reason na huminto ang botohan magka-issue man po sa VCM... We have watchers in place at doon po naman sa hindi makapagfifeed ng balota, meron po tayong watchers, meron tayong PPCRV (Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting), huwag po kayong matakot," Comelec acting spokesman Rex Laudiangco said.

[Translation: There is no reason to stop the voting if there is an issue with the VCM. We have poll watchers and the PPCRV to monitor the feeding of ballots. There is no need to worry.]

Election watchdogs NAMFREL and LENTE are sounding the alarm on issues encountered on election day, including vote counting machine woes.