DAVAO CITY — Election glitches figured in the morning of the country’s national elections as thousands of voters flocked very early to polling centers in the Davao region.
As early as 4:00 a.m., Edelyn Abale had already prepared for the family’s breakfast. By 5:00 am Abale was at the gate of Tacunan Elementary School in Tugbok District waiting for the polling precincts to open.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it is expecting a 75-80 percent turnout of voters today.
But even as voters lined up before 6:00 am, some polling precincts did not open as scheduled.
“Poll watchers in our precinct have not yet arrived,” said Librada Capistrano, 62, as they waited in line for the voting to start.
In V.L. Angliongto Sr. Elementary School in Buhangin district, voters came to the polling center very early.
However, in polling precinct cluster 746, a paper jam caused delay. Members of the Board of Election Inspectors were only able to resume voting by 7:15 am.
Some voters in V.L. Angliongto Sr. Elementary School also took time looking for their names in the voters’ list. But they were surprised to know that their polling center was changed to Emilio Ramos High School as they were voting in V.L. Angliongto Elementary School since 2010.
In Cornelio C. Reta Sr. Elementary School in Sasa, voters also complained of the change in their polling centers.
A voter who refused to be identified said that he was consistently voting in the same school, but he said that he cannot find his name.
The voters were advised to look for their names and precincts to the Comelec assistance desk put up outside the school.
Some voters were, however, dismayed and chose to go home.
In Sto. Tomas town, Davao del Norte province, Davao Today reporter, Mart Sambalud, said he voted for a partylist, but the receipt indicated an “undervote”.
The chairman of the Board of Election Inspectors in Sto. Tomas Central Elementary School assured him that his vote had been counted.
“I voted for a partylist, but it says undervote. According to BEI chariman it’s okay because the partylist I shaded was counted,” he said.
Outside the office of the Commission on Elections Davao in Magsaysay Park here, voters lined up to air out their complaints to election officers.
Helen Aguillon said she woke up early to vote, but she was not able to vote because she did not have biometrics data.
Biometrics data refer to the automated identification of an individual such as photograph, fingerprint, and signature.
The biometrics registration for voters started May 6, 2014 and the last day of filing was on October 31, last year.
But Aguillon said she was confused because her sister-in-law was allowed to vote “without biometrics”.
“They have many alibis; they said I failed to vote in two elections. But I was able to vote last elections here at the Comelec office,” she said.
Unfortunately, no election officer was assisting the voters as of press time. A staff manning the information desk of the Comelec office told Davao Today that the officials are still on the field.
The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voters (PPCRV) in Sto. Tomas reported that voters were dismayed to learn that their names were not listed in the precinct voter’s list issued by the poll body.
“Some are not aware of the No Bio-No Boto campaign of the Comelec. That’s the main reason we think that their names were delisted,” said Melba Clarinan, a staff of the PPCRV. (With reports from Ace R. Morandante, Mart D. Sambalud, Earl O. Condeza, Medel V. Hernani and Zea Io Ming C. Capistrano/davaotoday.com)