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MANILA, Philippines – According to the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), most of the reports that came in on Monday, May 9, involved the vote counting machines (VCMs).
To “protect the sanctity of the people’s expression in the polls,” the PPCRV set up several command centers across the country to monitor reports during the elections.
The reports came from the field volunteers of the poll watchdog, relayed through phone calls, radio reports, social media, text messages, and written messages.
The PPCRV categorized the reports they received into 6 clusters:
Voters heeded the call to vote early, but they had to endure unbearable heat in crowded polling precincts after VCMs broke down, causing terrible delays in the voting process.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) also extended voting to 6 pm for precincts which started late due to faulty VCMs.
- Intermittent operations
The PPCRV received several reports of VCMs shutting down. Some precincts reported that their machines stopped accepting ballots after scanning 50 sheets.
In other cases, restarting the faulty machines solved the issue, but in some cases the machines rebooted only after a long while. Others stopped and could not be revived, causing non-printing of results.
- Paper jams
Another common incident – paper jams in the ballot scanning and in the receipt printing.
In Davao City, the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) misdirected voters to place their thumbmark on the ballot sheets. This invalidated their ballots and delayed voting at the polling precinct.
- Receipt-related incidents
There are reports of inconsistent printing, no-printing, and erroneous printing.
- Over-heating machines
Towards the closing of voting period, several precincts reported that their VCM emitted smoke that smelled like a burned plastic. This halted any activity of the machine and disabled the BEI to print reports.
At one of the polling precincts in Dumaguete, officials even used an electric fan to cool down a malfunctioning VCM.
- Failed transmission
A good number of precincts in the Manila area brought their VCMs to the Rizal Memorial Coliseum because they could not transmit electronically. They reported weak signal in their area.
In Iloilo, the VCM was brought outside precincts to facilitate quicker transmission.
The PPCRV noted that the “listed fears of the Comelec did not significantly surface.”
“The voter by and large was satisfied in learning that the receipt recorded what (he or she) had chosen,” it said.
According to the PPCRV, the incidents mainly included the following: incomplete receipts, error in what was printed, and no receipt issued. – Raisa Serafica/Rappler.com