VCM bogging down, ballots rejected most common woes

SYSTEM malfunctions and rejected ballot scans are the common problems of the Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) in yesterday’s elections in Cebu.

VCM technician Alfred Bering said that almost 90 percent of the machines in their school needed troubleshooting yesterday with the same problems.

Para nako mas maayo last time (PCOS) nga machine kay wala to syay mga problems (The PCOS machines before were better),” he said.

Bering, a trained technician and a computer teacher, had to assist other school technicians assigned in another building who were not as familiar with bigger VCM troubles as he was.

School technicians were supposed to report complex VCM troubles in order for Comelec to send a Smartmatic technician. However, he said, it would prolong the process.

“Instinct na lang siguro nga dapat i-process gyod ang election ug way sigeg reklamo nga nalangay (Problems should not take long to solve),” Bering said.

Overheat

Bering was assigned in Abellana National School (ANS) precincts where there were at least four VCM errors and one VCM replacement. He said that the vote counting machines would hang because these were overheated.

In a separate interview, Sambag II BEI Supervisor Gaudencio Cabajar said the humid climate combined with the number of ballots being fed into the machines contributed to the system error.

Bering said that it took each technician 15 to 20 minutes to reboot the VCMs.

He said the VCM scanner rejected the ballots because of ink stains in the VCM scanner.

“It’s considered an unofficial ballot that’s why the machines spews it out,” he said.

The technicians in ANS had to clean the scanners about ten times when they were supposed to do it only twice or thrice.

Bering also emphasized that once the VCM rejects the ballot, the voter will no longer be given another ballot.

“It’s tiresome on our part because there were many machines that bogged down,” he said. Lorraine Mitzi Ambrad/USJ-R Intern

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