The Commission on Elections reported over 1,800 incidents involving problems with the automated vote-counting machines (VCM), stalling lines in several polling centers.
Before noon, the poll body recorded and resolved 940 paper jam incidents, 606 rejected ballots, 158 issues with the VCM scanner, 87 VCM printing issues, and 76 reports of VCMs not printing properly.
Voters took to social media to air their complaints and called on the Comelec to immediately act on reports of malfunctioning VCMs in their polling stations.
I’m really disappointed. Please ayusin nyo to. Hindi pinasok sa VCM yung balota namin at nilagay na lang sa box kasi sira daw.
— rowww (@OhiRoww) May 9, 2022
Our VCM or chip is malfunctioning. Been here 1.5 hours already. No commitment on turnaround time of resolution for the technical problem, so voters are being asked to either leave shaded ballots, or come back, or wait. 🥺🥺🥺 #Halalan2022
— ck⁷💗💜 (@schoolgirl) May 8, 2022
.@COMELEC @kontradaya I am reporting on an incident in Cluster 218, San Isidro Nat’l High School, Makati City. My ballot was counted but I was not issued a receipt because the VCM had insufficient paper for printing. #VoteSAFEPilipinas pic.twitter.com/syWS9Yb6mN
— David Baldivia (@rdhbaldivia) May 9, 2022
When a VCM malfunctions, the precinct’s electoral board (EB) has to promptly announce such a status, as provided under the Comelec’s rules of procedure.
Given this scenario, voters can either:
- waive their rights to a voter’s receipt and leave their ballot to the EB. The EB will then set aside these ballots and “batch feed” these to a working VCM, before the end of the voting day, or
- Wait for a replacement VCM to arrive at the precinct or wait for the malfunction to be resolved, to personally feed their ballots to the machine.
Many voters publicly declare their preference for the second option, underlining their skepticism of the batch feeding solution.
Comelec acting spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said that “batch feeding” of accomplished ballots is not a new mechanism, noting that in previous elections, the Comelec “did not see any anomaly” resulting from the process.
“Kung gusto nila, bumalik sila. ‘Wag na lang pong pumasok sa presinto. Doon na lang po sa bintana kasi po syempre, tapos na bumoto. Bantayan po ninyo ‘yung inyong balota mamaya po ‘pag nag-batch feeding. Pinapakita naman po ng teachers ‘yan eh, of course without looking at the ballots,” Laudiangco added.
(If they want, they can go back (to the precinct). But they should not go back inside [the polling area] and should instead stay by the windows because they have already voted. You can watch over your ballots later during the batch feeding. The teachers will show that to you, of course without looking at the ballots.)
Thumbnail photo by Ivel John M. Santos