Consulate in New York requests for two more vote-counting machines

Kaycee Valmonte - Philstar.com
Consulate in New York requests for two more vote-counting machines
The Philippine Consulate General in New York conducts ballot feeding at the Kalayaan Hall.

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Consulate General in New York said it requested two more vote counting machines (VCMs) from the Commission on Elections after some of its machines broke down last week.

“Siguro kailangan nating mangulit sa Comelec because we need to make sure na may back-up tayo,” Consul General Elmer Cato said in a virtual town hall meeting held Thursday morning, Manila time. 

(Maybe we need to continuously nudge the Comelec because we need to make sure that we have a back-up.) 

The consulate said it is waiting for Comelec to send two more machines to replace the VCM that encountered a paper jam, while the other machine failed to scan. 

READ: New York Consulate temporarily suspends ballot feeding after VCM issue

The foreign service post said it currently has two functioning machines. However, it preferred to have two additional VCMs to use for alternating when processing the ballots.

“We don’t want the overseas voting process to be affected by VCMs that have issues so we assure our kababayans that we are doing our best to make sure that we address these issues,” he added.

If the replacement machines do not arrive on time, the consulate in New York plans to coordinate with the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. and borrow one of their back-up units.

The consulate also clarified that the issues it encountered with the previous VCMs are merely “mechanical problems” and these have no effect on the vote-counting process.

Meanwhile, the post reported that it had been receiving more of the ballots sent back by voters. The consulate has also filed a formal request to the poll body through the Department of Foreign Affairs to add more ballot feeding days during the last week of the elections.

READ: Consulate in New York’s ballot feeding schedule updated to 9 a.m. every Monday, Thursday

The consulate said it hopes to schedule ballot feeding daily beginning Monday, instead of just Monday and Thursday.

Meanwhile, Cato called on Filipinos under the consulate's jurisdiction to reach out to them for assistance if they have concerns involving their election packets, including issues with postage stamps.

Middle East

Over in the Middle East, the Philippine Embassy in Bahrain reported that more Filipinos have been casting their ballots on weekends.

"The current voter turnout in the first two weeks of overseas voting is indicative of how kabayans in Bahrain recognize the importance of making their voices heard through their vote in the national elections," the embassy said in a statement dated April 27

There are 28,964 registered land-based voters under the jurisdiction of the embassy in Manama, Bahrain. Filipinos there may personally cast their ballots, which uses the automated election system.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Embassy in Jordan plans to conduct a field voting activity on Saturday, April 30, at the Doubletree by Hilton Aqaba from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The post in Jordan said that while consular and other operations will temporarily be suspended from May 1 to 5 in observance of Labor Day and Eid Al-Fitr, it will continue to provide services related to overseas voting. 


Meanwhile, the country’s foreign service posts in Russia also conducted a consular outreach mission.

The Philippine Embassy based in Moscow visited Yakutsuk city to provide consular services, including hosting field voting activity, to Filipinos based there. The post last conducted a consular outreach mission in the city in June 2019. 

The embassy in Russia will also conduct field voting activities in Yerevan in Armenia on May 1, Vladivostok in Russia on May 4, and Almaty in Kazakhstan on May 7. 

Filipinos abroad may cast their ballots at any Philippine foreign service post or through mailing in their ballots at the embassy or consulate they are registered with until the last day of the voting period, May 9.

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