2022 Philippine Elections

Comelec VCM backup plan: Waive the right to a receipt, or wait

Lorenz Pasion

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Comelec VCM backup plan: Waive the right to a receipt, or wait
In times of Vote Counting Machine (VCM) issues, ballot batch-feeding is a contingency plan created by Comelec for voters who cannot wait for the issue to be resolved

MANILA, Philippines – Election Day on Monday, May 9, has seen several social media posts raise concerns over how vote counting machine (VCM) malfunctions are being handled: Voters are given the option to leave their filled-up ballots with poll workers, who say they will insert them in the machine once the technical issue is resolved. 

The viral posts make it sound like the option offered by poll workers is a shady maneuver to manipulate the election results, to the point that the phrase “Don’t leave your ballot” trended on Twitter.

However, this option offered by poll workers is in fact part of the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) contingency plans for VCM technical issues.

According to Comelec Resolution 10759 signed in January, voters casting or waiting to cast their votes can be given two options in case of a VCM malfunction:

First, proceed to shade their ballots with a waiver of their right to be issued a voter’s receipt. In this case, the ballots will be temporarily placed in the envelope for rejected ballots, half or torn unused official ballots and other half of torn unused official ballots, and counted official ballots. They will be batch-fed before the close of the polls. 

The second option is to simply wait for the VCM malfunction to be resolved or the replacement VCM to arrive in order to personally feed their ballot into the machine.

The same Comelec resolution also requires watchers to be present when contingency procedures are undertaken. 

On social media, several voters said they chose the second option.

As of past 10 am on Monday, May 9, Comelec said at least 1,867 VCMs that encountered glitches had been resolved. –Rappler.com

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Lorenz Pasion

Lorenz Pasion is a researcher at Rappler and a member of its fact-check team that debunks false claims that spread on social media.