Machine glitch

May 14, 2019

Monday’s elections offered nothing new – the exercise, that is.

Voters experienced delays, confusion, even displacement as the country held this year’s midterm balloting.

What made this year’s polling exercise different is that machines, not man, caused glitches in the vote processing.

And this is quite expected because the machines have not been used for the last three years.

Still, they were resolved with dispatch by a very responsive Commission on Elections and its deputies, much to the credit of top Comelec officials and their field personnel.

Now that the counting/canvassing is almost over in many parts of the country, we can all move on to the unending task of nation-building.

Voting in most polling stations ended at 6 p.m. Monday, with a number of vote counting machines malfunctioning, several incidents of alleged vote-buying and other minor incidents marring what has been a generally smooth and peaceful mid-term elections.

According to the Comelec, between 400 to 600 out of the 85,000 vote counting machines in precincts across the country encountered glitches.

Additionally, the Philippine National Police recorded more than a hundred incidents of alleged vote-buying as the voting process, which started at 6 a.m., was halfway.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said that in the course of the elections, about 400-600 VCMs have to be replaced due to technical issues.

Other VCM-related issues ranged from paper jams to machines that failed to read ballots, resulting in delays in the voting.

Jimenez said reports on the ground blamed it on SD cards that were not functioning.

"Again, we're still really pinning down the reasons for the issues experienced by the VCMs, but right now, what we have is the SD cards," he added.

Aside from the 400 to 600 vote counting machines that have been replaced, Jimenez said there are certain polling precincts that have yet to report its opening to the Comelec.

Among these precincts are in Isabela, Zambales, Samar, Naga City in Cebu as well as Compostela Valley and Sultan Kudarat in Mindanao.

"We just haven't been able to hear from them yet," Jimenez said.

But despite acknowledging the problems besetting some polling areas, the Comelec official allayed concerns over the impact of the VCM glitches to the overall conduct of the elections.

Meanwhile, PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde said more than 300 persons were nabbed for alleged vote-buying during police operations in various parts of the country.

“As of 1 p.m. today (Monday), the PNP National Election Monitoring Action Center, has recorded a total of 120 incidents with 302 violators,” he said in a press briefing in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

The PNP said based on initial investigation, the three blasts that rocked Cotabato City and Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao are not election-related, adding that the incidents happened away from the polling places.