VCM glitches resulted in long queues in polling centers

MANILA. A vote counting machine being tested in Valenzuela City before the May 9 elections. (Contributed photo)
MANILA. A vote counting machine being tested in Valenzuela City before the May 9 elections. (Contributed photo)

OVER 1,800 vote counting machines (VCMs) have encountered problems amid the conduct of the 2022 national and local elections Monday, May 9, 2022, Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner George Garcia said.

Garcia said among the issues encountered were paper jam, rejected ballot and VCM scanner and printer malfunction.

Some of the malfunctioning VCMs have either been replaced or repaired by onsite technical personnel.

VCMs that cannot be fixed will be replaced, but if there are no replacements available, the machines will be brought back to repair hubs.

These issues have resulted in long lines in various polling centers across the country.

Garcia urged the voters to continue voting and leave their filled ballots to election officers of their precinct.

"So in the meantime, alangan naman po na habang ang machine ay nasa repair hubs, yung balota ay hawak-hawak ng mga botante. Hindi naman po puwedeng ganon. So kailangan iwanan ng mga botante 'yan sa kanilang lamesa ng ating mga guro, siyempre nandiyan po ang mga watchers," Garcia said.

(So in the meantime, voters can leave their ballots at their precincts while the machines are being repaired. They cannot just hold on to their ballots while the repair is ongoing. They need to leave the ballots to the election officers. Anyway, we have watchers.)

"No choice po tayo doon. Ang importante nakaboto ang mga kababayan natin at ang mga mismong balota ay nakapatas po dyan ima-mass feed po yan. 'Yan po ang isang pagkakataon na ang resibo ay hindi po maibibigay sa mga botante natin," he added.

(We have no choice. What’s important is the people were able to vote. The ballots will be mass fed, but that way, the voters can no longer see their receipts.)

Some voters, however, refused to do what the Comelec advised, citing the protection of their votes.

With this development, election watchdog Kontra Daya urged the Comelec to extend the voting hours, which were set until 7 p.m., saying leaving ballots to election officers is “unacceptable.”

“Kontra Daya reiterates that it is the choice of voters to wait for their ballots to be fed to VCMs. Prohibiting voters may result in loss in confidence on the results of the election,” it said. (SunStar Philippines)


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