Briones: Poll cynic

On the go

I WAS monitoring the 2019 midterm elections on the radio.

As of lunchtime, the most common complaint around the province was vote counting machines (VCMs) and vote registration verification machines (VRVMs) conking out or not working at all.

According to one witness, the machines had a tendency to malfunction, especially if these had been running for quite some time. As a result, the voting process in a lot of precincts was delayed.

Apparently, VCMs and VRVMs don’t do well in high temperatures.

Well, duh! We live in the tropics. And in case you have been too busy watching the Game of Thrones, the country is in the middle of a dry spell caused by the weather phenomenon El Niño not to mention that May just happens to be the hottest month in Cebu. Ask Al Quiblat, if you don’t believe me.

So there! Glitches were bound to happen, especially for a machine manufactured in a temperate country. The humidity alone must be wreaking havoc on its circuits.

Now, if this is the case, the government should move the elections to the “Ber” months. You know, when it’s not too hot. That way, this won’t happen again. Of course, the Constitution will have to be changed.

Hey, it can happen.

Anyway, I thought the Commission on Elections (Comelec) had a dry run last week. In fact, if I remember correctly, a poll official said they already fixed or replaced defective or broken VCMs and VRVMs last Saturday, May 11.

Maybe they did. After all, someone could have done something to the machines between then and when the polling centers opened at 6 a.m. last Monday, May 13. I’m not saying that’s what happened, but it’s not entirely implausible.

I’m sure the delay didn’t make a lot of people happy. Oh, and by a lot, I’m talking about an 80 to 85 percent voter turnout. At least, that’s what Acting Comelec 7 Director Veronico Petalcorin was expecting.

Let’s see, Cebu has 3,082,621 registered voters. So 80 percent would be—hmmm, multiply the number by the percent, divide the answer by 100, oh, don’t forget to move the decimal point two places to the left, then round it to the nearest whole number—yup, a lot. Like millions a lot.

Wait. Don’t be impressed.

If you think many of those who went home to their towns to cast their ballots did so because they cared what happened to this country, then wake up and smell the coffee. Don’t get me wrong, maybe for some, deep in their hearts, they do. But let’s face it, many were only after one thing.

Don’t play naïve with me. You know what that is.

So let’s just leave it at that.


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