CONVENIENT and easy.

These are among the comments of persons who tried the automated voting system using the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines stationed at SM City Cebu, in line with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) 7’s voting education campaign.

The Comelec PCOS demonstration center will remain at the mall until April 30.

During the center’s opening yesterday, Danao City Election Officer Dominic Ian Marigomen demonstrated how to operate the PCOS.

Among those who tried the PCOS machine at the demo center was Ramon Anthony Miñoza, 27, from Oroquieta City in Misamis Occidental.

He said he was not able to vote in the first automated election so he was surprised at how easy and convenient the process is compared to manual voting.

PCOS voting machine demo at SM Cebu City mall
VOTING DEMO AT THE MALL.  Election assistant Bernard delos Reyes (right) of the Commission on Elections Cebu City office shows observers how to feed a ballot into a Precinct Optical Scan machine, in a demonstration in SM City Cebu. (Sun.Star Cebu Photo/Arni Aclao)


He noted that even if some of his shadings went out of the oval, the machine still read his ballot.

Gabriel Orzales, 46, of Talisay City said automated elections is timely.

Cebu City South Election Assistant Officer Bernard Delos Reyes said they observed the same problems in the May 2010 elections at the demo center.

One problem involved the elderly with poor eyesight who have difficulties shading the oval next to a candidate’s name.

Delos Reyes said that to ensure that the PCOS machine will accept the ballot, at least 50 percent of the oval must be shaded.

Reading glasses

He said the Cebu City Government provided reading glasses for voters with poor eyesight but many senior citizens forgot to return them after voting.

Delos Reyes reminded voters to check the ballot handed to them by the board of election inspectors if there are markings. Ballots with markings, even ink smudges, must be returned.

Doreen Marigomen, PCOS demo team member, said the “timing mark,” the black markings on the sides of the ballot, should not be written on otherwise it will be rejected by the machine.

The machine will also reject the ballot if the shading is not clear or the ballot is damaged or torn. The machine will also likely to misread the ballot if its identification is not registered.

Delos Reyes said ballot’s identification is defined per clustered precinct so it cannot be used in machines for other areas.

Voters should not leave until the machine flashed the word “Congratulations,” delos Reyes said.

In a related development, Comelec 7 Director Temie Lambino said they are coordinating with local environmental groups in monitoring the placement of campaign materials outside designated areas.