Tagum eyes voting extension due to defective VCMs

May. 09, 2016
Election officer, Gladiel Jim A. Casinto in Tagum City. (Mart D. Sambalud/davaotoday.com)

Election officer, Gladiel Jim A. Casinto in Tagum City. (Mart D. Sambalud/davaotoday.com)

TAGUM CITY–Casting of votes in this city might be extended until Wednesday after 80 vote counting machines have malfunctioned in several clustered precincts, a Comelec election officer said on Monday, May 9.

Gladiel Jim A. Casinto, election officer, told DavaoToday that with these glitches, there is a possibility that voting will be extended.

“We are not discounting the possibility that the casting of votes will be extended tomorrow or until  Wednesday,” he said.

According to Casinto, several VCMs deployed in Tagum encountered both “mechanical and technical problems,” a claim also confirmed by technicians of technology provider Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corp.

“I can confirm that it is a mechanical problem because plastic component materials of the VCMs were deformed. Aside from this, the scanner of the machine needs to be cleaned,” he said.

Casinto added that they are closely working with the National Technical Support Center to remedy the problem.

To remedy the problem, Casinto said they will use a functional VCM and swap the SD (Secure Digital) card and feed the ballots.

Casinto added they also plan to deploy more contingency VCMs, adding that only five contingency VCMs were already deployed.

“We will wait from other precincts to finish their casting of votes to lend the VCMs to those precincts where VCMs were malfunctioned.”

“Our advise to the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) is to continue shading the ballot even if the VCM      is malfunctioning and set it aside for the meantime. Of course, this will be done in the presence of the poll watchers,” he said.

He urged that “(L)et the poll watchers sign as to how many ballots. In case there’s an available VCM, that’s the time that we will feed the ballots.”

Casinto further explained that the election ballots will be transported to the Comelec Canvassing Center in Tagum’s New City Hall located at Apokon.

“The procedure will be, we will bring the ballot here at the Comelec Canvassing Center and we will use three VCMs so that we will refeed here the ballots,” he said.

Casinto said that it will be the Board of Canvassers who will feed the ballots from those defective VCMs.

“We can also request the BEIs to feed the ballots but regardless of whoever will feed the ballots, it will be done in the presence of poll watchers and legal counsels.”

“We are not considering the manual counting of votes,” Casinto stressed.

As of 4:00  p.m Monday, the voters turned out in Tagum stands at thirty percent or equivalent to 39, 821 voters in which Casinto noted to be lower since there are 132, 737 registers voters in this city.

But he expects the voters turn out to improve if all ballots coming from defective VCMs will be counted.

Tagum City has 23 barangays with 943 established precincts, 188 clustered precincts and has 36 voting centers. (davaotoday.com)

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