Comelec replaces faulty vote counting machines

ANGELES CITY -- At least four faulty vote counting machines (VCMs) were reported to this city’s Commission on Elections (Comelec) office a few hours after the election started yesterday morning.

Lawyer Imelda Panis, election officer of Angeles City, said that she immediately ordered the replacement of the VCMs in Barangay Balibago and Pulungbulu after receiving the report.

“So far, I received yung apat na VCM na nag-malfunction pero mayroon isa doon naman na naayos. So ngayon, on their way for replacement nung VCM. Andun na sila, nagpunta na sila sa school para palitan,” Panis said.

VCMs are like other gadgets like smart phones that need to be refreshed at a given time, according to her.

“Kailangan tanggalin lang ang SD card tapos ibabalik. Parang cellphones tinatanggal natin yung SIM. Ganun din ang ginawa sa Pulung Bulu kaya naayos kaagad,” Panis said.

The election officer explained that the protocol requires VCM technicians to relay any information of faulty machines to their coordinator.

The National Technical Support Center (NTSC) should then need to confirm the report [of malfunctioning VCMs] to the election officer before the replacement.

“Hindi ko na nga hinintay yung tawag at confirmation from the NTSC. Kailangan may confirmation pa ako, tatawagan ako ng NTSC. Kapag hinintay ko pa yun, baka bukas pa sila makaboto,” Panis said.

In Barangay Tabun, three voters reportedly complained that their ballots reportedly jammed after inserting them into the VCMs.

Panis said that Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) were oriented to replace the ballots if the fault is not on the part of the voters.

“Kung nag-paper jam po at hindi naman kasalanan ng voter yon pwede po silang bigyan ng replacement,” she added.

The election officer however disclosed that they are following a ratio of “one voter equals one ballot.”

Voters are the ones inserting the ballots and not the teachers or BEIs, according to Panis.

“Bakit kaya nag-paper jam. Baka naman kasi sa kanyang pag-insert. Baka pati yung folder ay isinama niya. Kasi siya (voter) naman kasi ang magpapasok nun hindi yung teacher,” Panis said.

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