1.9M Negrenses expected to cast votes on polls under Covid threat

Final testing and sealing of vote counting machines at the Education and Training Center School III in Bacolod City on Saturday, two days prior to the May 9, 2022 National and Local elections today. In Negros Occidental and Bacolod City, 1,946,000 voters are expected to cast their votes today. (Adrian Prietos Photo)
Final testing and sealing of vote counting machines at the Education and Training Center School III in Bacolod City on Saturday, two days prior to the May 9, 2022 National and Local elections today. In Negros Occidental and Bacolod City, 1,946,000 voters are expected to cast their votes today. (Adrian Prietos Photo)

THE Commission on Elections in Negros Occidental is still expecting a higher turnout of voters for the national and local elections today, May 9, despite that voters are casting their votes for the first time under the prevailing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

Comelec Provincial supervisor Roberto Salazar said that it is always the case in every presidential elections compared to the midterm polls because people are more interested in participating and voting.

Salazar pointed out that Covid was already here when they conducted plebiscite in Palawan, but it did not affect the turnout of the elections.

“Also, we could see that in the political rallies, many supporters are still showing up despite the Covid-19 threat,” the Comelec official said, adding that they don’t have a projected turnout though.

Salazar also reminded the public to go out and vote early, wisely and safely.

Comelec records show that there are a total of 1,946,000 voters in the entire Negros Occidental, including its capital Bacolod City, who are expected to cast their votes at 2,906 clustered precincts in the province.

For Bacolod City alone, there are 327,403 registered voters assigned to 450 clustered precincts in 45 voting centers.

Negros Occidental has 1.619 million registered voters with 2,456 clustered precints in 698 voting centers.

Two days before the actual voting day, the Comelec completed the final testing and sealing of the Vote Counting Machines (VCMs).

Salazar said they found out that 16 VCMs in Negros Occidental and another one in Bacolod City are not functioning.

He said these VCMs were already sent to Cebu for repair and will be replaced upon the approval of Comelec Manila.

The entire province has 52 spared VCMs.

"There were technicalities but it's understandable because our VCMs are already nine years old," Salazar stressed.

In case the secure digital (SD) cards also malfunction, they will be reconfigured by the personnel assigned by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) based on the directive of the Comelec.

While waiting for the repair or replacement, the voting will proceed, Salazar assured.

He said that every VCM has the corresponding transmission device and in case of trouble, the canvassing results will be uploaded to the SD card.*

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