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Not even halfway through voting day, nearly 1,900 vote counting machines marred with 'common issues'

Kaycee Valmonte - Philstar.com
Not even halfway through voting day, nearly 1,900 vote counting machines marred with 'common issues'
COMELEC staff assist early bird voters in Christ the King Seminary in Quezon City on May 9, 2022.
Philstar.com / Jazmin Tabuena

MANILA, Philippines — Nearly 1,900 vote counting machines (VCMs) encountered "common issues" on the first few hours of election day, the Commission on Elections said.

The voting period in began at 6 a.m. and voters will have until 7 p.m. to cast their ballots in their respective precincts.

In an update sent to reporters on Monday at 10:27 a.m., Commissioner George Garcia said 940 machines were marred with paper jams, 606 VCMs rejected ballots, 158 had problems with the scanners, 87 of the machines were not printing, and 76 VCMs had printers which were not printing properly.

Garcia said technicians on-site were able to attend to the problems of the machines and only 10 have been replaced.

In an 11 a.m. update, the poll body said a total of 51 VCMs were defective and 102 SD cards have since been replaced. 

Some voters expressed frustration on social media in the first few hours of the polling period because the machines in their respective precincts were not working.

The poll body secured 1,100 contingency machines for this year's elections.

What can voters do?

Voters have two options when the machine at their precincts are found to be malfunctioning — they can either wait for the technicians to finish troubleshooting the machines or they can leave their ballots with the electoral board, who will then conduct a batch feeding of the ballots once the machines start working again.

"You can vote and watchers can watch your pile of voted ballots until they are fed to a VCM. Don't worry. Just vote," former Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said in a Twitter post.

Robredo: Lawyers on standby if voters need help

In a statement, Vice President and presidential candidate Leni Robredo said their team put up a hotline, which voters can use if they need assistance or if they have complaints related to their voting experience.

"Marami tayong lawyers on standby. Kailangan lang ma-advise lahat na lahat na mapapansin nila na outside the norm kailangan i-report saka i-document," Robredo said.

(We have a lot of lawyers on standby. They just need to be advised that everything they notice outside the norm should be reported and documented.)

Robredo expressed concern because of the reports of malfunctioning VCMs and election violence coming in from all over the country.

"Sana ipakita ng mga authorities na on top sila ng lahat na nangyayari. Kasi dito namana nakasalalay yung pagtitiwala ng tao sa pamahalaan," Robredo said.

(Hopefully, the authorities will show that they are on top of everything that is happening because this is where people's trust in the government depends.)

2022 ELECTIONS

COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: May 12, 2022 - 11:05am

Follow the latest updates as Filipinos cast their votes for the 2022 local and national elections.

Main photo: AFP/Chaideer Mahyuddin

May 12, 2022 - 11:05am

China extends its congratulations to presumptive president Bongbong Marcos and presumptive vice president Sara Duterte.

Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian says the next administration "will surely demonstrate unprecedented unity to rise above all challenges."

May 12, 2022 - 11:03am

The envoy says China's ambassador to the Philippines has congratulated Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for his victory in the presidential elections, expressing confidence that ties between the two nations would be "stronger".

"I have no doubt that under the next administration, our bilateral relations will only become stronger, our peoples closer and our cooperation deeper and wider," Huang Xilian says in a statement. — AFP

May 11, 2022 - 12:07pm

A foreign ministry spokesperson says China congratulates the Philippines for holding a "smooth" presidential election and its leading candidates. 

May 11, 2022 - 10:55am

The Comission on Elections, sitting as National Board of Canvassers, resumes the tabulation of votes for senators. — The STAR/Sheila Crisostomo

May 11, 2022 - 8:47am

As of 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, former Sen. Bongbong Marcos maintains his overwhelming lead in the presidential race, with 31,071,674 votes, based on the partial, unofficial results from Comelec data. 

Vice President Leni Robredo is in second with 14,806,539 votes.

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