Test on PCOS machines in CDO smooth, with only minor glitches

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 9 May) – Inside Room 1 at the Consolacion Elementary School here, Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) chair Edgar Lacre was so anxious during the testing of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines that he forgot he slid the vital memory card in the pocket of his denim pants.

Under the watchful eyes of poll volunteers and watchers, Lacre nervously asked his fellow BEI members whether they have the memory card.

Getting a “No” for an answer, Lacre went through a pile of documents and boxes that contained the PCOS machine assigned to his room.

After minutes of futile search, Lacre finally remembered, and fished out the memory card. “It’s here. I forgot that I placed it in my pocket,” a relieved Lacre said as the small crowd of watchers and teachers broke into laughter.

Palmer Palamine, city election officer, said almost all members of BEIs and teachers were nervous during the testing of the PCOS machines in Cagayan de Oro Thursday morning.

“In their nervousness, they forgot all the instructions we gave them in the operation of the PCOS machines. It is understandable though because this is only their second time to operate these machines,” Palamine said.

He said the first automated balloting was during the 2010 presidential elections, wherein teachers used to manual counting had a hard time adapting to technology.

“There were only minor glitches reported which we attributed to the nervousness of the teachers,” Palamine said.

One of the glitch reported, Palamine said, was the delayed distribution of PCOS machines as the Comelec-chartered cargo forwarder, Air 21, struggled to make the delivery to the 360 polling precincts in the city.

He said all the machines will stay inside the classrooms until these will be opened on election day.

“We have instructed the teachers to padlock the rooms but the windows should be open to allow the public to peek inside,” Palamine said.

For Lacre, whose first experience was the 2010 polls, automated election is very “convenient “ for the teachers.

“It takes only a few minutes for each voter to finish casting her or his ballot. We can finish the entire counting early Monday night,” he said.

Lacre had 10 volunteers cast mock ballots to check the machine. The entire process took only less than an hour.