MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) acknowledged on Thursday, April 28, that the number of contingency vote-counting machines (VCMs) for the 2022 elections decreased from the last elections, due to an increased number of polling precincts caused by a higher number of voters.
Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said the poll body has 1,100 contingency VCMs for the May 9 vote, a dip from the 7,000 to 9,000 reserved machines deployed in 2019 based on multiple reports at the time.
Casquejo, who heads the steering committee, added that regional technical hubs will be in place on May 9 to fix faulty machines and SD cards.
“In the local elections, we will have eight regional VCM repair hubs. For the replacement of SD cards, it’s the same. The purpose of these VCM repair hubs is for the defective VCM to be repaired immediately, because we lack in contingency machines,” the poll official explained in Filipino.
Domestic voters in the Philippines for the 2022 polls are at a record-high 65.7 million.
Because of COVID-19 protocols, the Comelec reduced the number of voters assigned per polling precinct to 800, compared to 1,000 in 2019, to better enforce physical distancing protocols.
The ratio of VCM to clustered precinct is 1:1, which means that the over 106,000 precincts for the 2022 polls will each have one machine.
For this year’s elections, the Comelec leased 10,000 additional VCMs on top of the 97,345 machines in its possession that have already been refurbished.