2,000 VCMs encountered issues before start of voting

Some 2,000 vote counting machines have encountered some issues before the opening of polling places, the Commission on Elections said on Monday.

According to Comelec Commissioner George Garcia, there were 1,867 VCMs that malfunctioned and needed to be repaired.

“They weren’t all replaced. The technicians were able to resolve the issues,” he said.

Among the reported problems are paper jam (940), rejected ballots (606), VCM scanner (158), VCM printer not printing (87), and VCM not printing properly (76).

The poll body official said that 10 VCMs required replacements.

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On the other hand, Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said there are a total of 1,900 contingency VCMs on standby.

“During the final testing and sealing, a total of 818 VCMs were defective but all were repaired. Thus, on election day, we still have 1,900 contingency VCMs,” he said.

There are a total of 107,345 VCMs to be used in the May 2022 polls.

Meanwhile, the Comelec has tapped Philippine National Police personnel as Special Electoral Boards to man 175 polling precincts in Cotabato City after the original Electoral Boards (EBs) have backed out from serving for Monday’s polls due to “perceived threats.”

“There are 175 clustered precincts that are, right now, being manned by the Philippine National Police Special Electoral Boards,” said acting Comelec spokesman John Rex Laudiangco in a press briefing.

“One of the factors is the perceived threats. There was no actual harm or threat done to the EBs. But there (are) perceived threats in their persons. This is why they manifested to our officials that they opt not to serve,” he said.

Under the Election Service Reform Act, in cases where the peace and order situation requires and there are no qualified voters willing to serve, uniformed personnel of the PNP shall be deputized to render election service “as a last resort.”

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