Glitches reported in UPIS mock polls

Raisa Serafica, Nathaniel Gatpandan
Contingency PCOS machines are said to be on standby in the event ballots are rejected, says the Comelec

MOCK POLLS. 'Minor' glitches reported in UPIS mock polls. Photo by Raisa Serafica

MANILA, Philippines – Mock elections held at the University of the Philippines Integrated School started with a few hiccups on Saturday, February 2.

The PCOS machine initially installed inside the classroom-turned-voting-area rejected ballots from the first group of voters. According to Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, voters may try to feed their ballots to the machine more than once.

“A ballot may be fed by the voter to the machine up to 4 times. If the machine rejects the ballot facing upwards, top first, the voter is allowed to feed it to the PCOS machine in a different orientation.”

He told the media later, “The Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) has replaced the PCOS machine with a back-up machine after an assigned technical team confirmed a glitch.”

Contingency machines

“Basically, ang nangyari dito, nagkaroon ng determination na ‘yung PCOS machine na ginamit earlier should be replaced. So, ang ginawa, nagtawag at nag-replace gamit ang isang contingency machine. Again, that’s part of the procedure, that’s part of the system working to correct any sort of error during election day,” Jimenez explained.

EXPLANATION. Comelec's James Jimenez explains to the media about contingency PCOS machines. Photo by Raisa Serafica

Jimenez added that Comelec has a little over 76,000 precincts and more than 81,000 PCOS machines, the excess of which will be contingency machines.

The replacement machine receives most of the ballots fed to it, with voters pressing the green “Cast” button to confirm their votes. However, one mock voter, Engrancio Bulacja, still experienced difficulties feeding his ballot into the replacement machine.

TAKE 2. Engrancio Bulacga, in red, casts his vote for the second time. Photo by Raisa Serafica

Most of the time he spent inside the voting precinct was to wait for his turn to cast his ballot. It took him less than 5 minutes to register and vote, and more than 25 minutes waiting for his turn to cast his ballot.

When the replacement machine still rejected his ballot, the BEIs gave him a new ballot and rejected the old one. He spent a total of 40 minutes inside the precinct.

Voting took longer

Masyadong matagal, mas mabilis pa ’nung isang taon.” Bulacja reported as he left the school.

Another voter took a total of 17 minutes inside the precinct, but most of that time (14 minutes) was spent shading circles on the ballot.

New registrant Neschel Bello said she found the automated process easy.

’Pag nakikita ko, matagal siya, ngayon madali lang. Pili ka lang tapos shade mo lang.” (When I was watching it, it seemed to take long but now it’s easy. You just choose then shade.)

The mock election in UPIS is scheduled until 7 pm today, Saturday. Manual counting will be done after they close the polling precincts. –




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Raisa Serafica

Raisa Serafica is the Unit Head of Civic Engagement of Rappler. As the head of MovePH, Raisa leads the on ground engagements of Rappler aimed at building a strong community of action in the Philippines. Through her current and previous roles at Rappler, she has worked with different government agencies, collaborated with non-governmental organizations, and trained individuals mostly on using digital technologies for social good.