210 VCMs in Guimaras tested for accuracy


The province of Guimaras on Friday conducted its Final Testing and Sealing (FTS) of 210 vote counting machines (VCMs) that will be used for the May 9 local and national elections.

“This is very important because we are testing the accuracy of the machine. If what was printed in the election return does not match the manual counting and if it has discrepancy so we have no choice but to change the machine,” said Guimaras Provincial Election Supervisor, Atty. Bert Arbis, in a phone interview on Friday.

Prior to the simultaneous opening at 9 a.m., Arbis received information that a VCM assigned in one clustered precinct in the municipality of Jordan has no FTS ballot only to find out that the assigned members of the Election Board (EB) have not opened the VCM box yet.

Each VCM machine has 10 ballots for testing. The votes cast in the machine have to match the manual counting.

Meanwhile, 2 VCMs in the municipality of Sibunag malfunctioned; one failed to scan while they had to troubleshoot the other one.

The VCM which did not scan was immediately replaced as the province has four machines on standby.

Guimaras was the first province in Western Visayas to hold the FTS so other provinces are watching to have an idea of what will happen once they conduct their FTS.

The conduct of FTS in several clustered precincts was witnessed by Comelec Regional Election Director Lawyer Wilfred Jay E. Balisado.

Other than the conduct of the FTS and the deployment of thermal scanner to be used by precincts on May 9, Arbis said they are ready.

“So far we are ready. The official ballot is just waiting to be distributed on Sunday afternoon and Monday early morning. There are areas that requested for early delivery,” he added.

He added that the pandemic remains a challenge although the province is under Alert Level 1.

During the day of the elections, voters are urged to follow health protocols such as safe physical distancing and wearing masks.

Their body temperature will also be checked before they will be allowed to enter their voting precinct.

An isolation polling precinct is also in place for those who will be manifesting symptoms on the day of the elections.

“We are urging our voters to go to their precinct as early as possible or by 6 a.m.,” Arbis added.

The province has 124, 076 registered voters who are expected to cast their votes in the 210 clustered precincts.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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