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Vote-counting machines fail in first polling hours

A voter checks her name in the voters' list outside a polling precinct prior to voting in the country's presidential elections at the front-running presidential candidate Mayor Rodrigo Duterte's hometown of Davao City, Philippines Monday, May 9, 2016. Millions of Filipinos began voting Monday in a presidential race where a foul-mouthed, crime-busting mayor is favored to win, but who the outgoing president says is a threat to democracy. AP / Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — Malfunctioning vote-counting machines (VCMs) delayed voting procedures in various areas of the country on election day on Monday.

Election watchdog group Kontradaya said that it has received "numerous" reports of errors in VCMs in the first hours of polling day.

Many precincts nationwide were set to open at 5 a.m., but voters in Tacloban City's precinct 0306 formed long lines as the machine was not functioning, according to Kontradaya.

As of 9:30 a.m., the VCMs at Trinity University Cluster in Damayang Lagi, Quezon City were still not working, while voting was also postponed at Poblacion Muntinlupa Elementary School due to technical problems.

The machine in Barangay Kayrilao in Nasugbu, Batangas also broke down and no replacement has reached the area as of posting time.

Similar reports reaching Philstar.com were issued from voting precincts in Quezon City, while in Parañaque City's Tambo village, voting was delayed for almost three hours due to VCMs malfunctioning.

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Commission on Elections spokesperson James Jimenez said the poll body's agents are still validating reported problems on VCMs such as rejection of ballots.

"Only after it is rejected after the fourth try that it should actually be noted as a rejected ballot," Jimenez said at a press conference in Pasay City.

He said machine replacement can be done, but sometimes not immediately.


"In some cases, kailangan bumiyahe 'yung makina," Jimenez said.

Some precincts can also extend voting hours if the opening was delayed for more than two hours at the start of the day. — Reports from Rosette Adel and Camille Diola; Video by Efigenio Toledo IV

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