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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) demonstrated the process by which vote-counting machines (VCMS) are refurbished for the 2022 elections.
Technology firm Smartmatic bagged the P637-million contract for the project last June.
In the Comelec’s walkthrough video sent to reporters on Tuesday, September 14, VCMs are shown being transferred from the warehouse to a staging area, where each machine is inspected by a team of three people.
The three-person cluster is composed of an operator, a Comelec representative, and a Smartmatic representative.
Below are the steps in the refurbishment of VCMs, according to the demo video:
- The operator removes the VCM from the box.
- Smartmatic’s representative opens the VCM hardware and replaces the CMOS battery.
- The operator plugs the VCM, then inserts a generic configuration SD card.
- The operator sets the date and time of the VCM before restarting the device.
- The operator cleans the device with an air compressor gun to remove the dust, and a cleaning sheet for the rollers and scanners.
- Smartmatic’s representative closes the VCM hardware.
- The operator restarts the VCM, then checks the audio interface with a headset.
- The operator conducts a hardware acceptance test. That person also checks whether the device can read the connected WIFI stick.
- The operator inserts a diagnostic ballot to the machine for a scan test.
- The Comelec personnel checks the ballot display to determine whether the ballot image has a line or extraneous marks.
- The operator loads a roll of thermal paper to the thermal printer.
- The operator removes the adaptor to check whether the backup battery is functioning.
- To check the thermal printer, the operator prints three copies of the diagnostic report. The first copy is placed inside the VCM box, another goes to the Comelec, and the third to Smartmatic.
- The Comelec staff examines the report to determine whether the machine passed the diagnostic test.
- The operator removes the thermal paper and the WIFI stick from the VCM, which is also unplugged.
- The operator cleans the VCM again, and places two security seals.
- The operator places the VCM properly in a box.
- VCMs that failed to pass a diagnostics test will be tagged as “quarantine,” subject for repair. Smartmatic’s representative will fix the device in a clean repair room.
- Once the VCM is fixed, the “quarantine” tag is removed. A sticker is also placed on the box to show the date of repair.
- Encoders scan and record bar codes of machines that are refurbished before they are taken to the warehouse. The Comelec personnel records the serial number of each VCM.
Five percent of VCMs refurbished daily undergo a stress test, the poll body said.
At least 31%, or 30,730 of the 97,345 VCMs that will be deployed for the 2022 polls have been refurbished as of September, according to the Comelec’s demo video.
The Comelec previously committed to conduct a livestream of the media walkthrough of its warehouse in Laguna, scheduled on Tuesday, due to the limited number of media personnel allowed to cover the event. The livestream, however, did not push through.
Instead, the Comelec sent reporters a copy of the demonstration video that was presented during the physical event on Tuesday. – Rappler.com