GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/03 May) – Commission on Elections (Comelec) personnel here are not expecting any major glitches with the conduct of the automated elections in the city’s 26 barangays on May 13.
Lawyer April Mitchor-Miguel, city election officer, said they have prepared and set contingencies for possible scenarios that might occur during the election day, especially with the use of the Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) and other equipment.
She acknowledged that they are facing problems with weak or limited telecommunication signals in several parts of the city, especially in the far-flung areas, but these have already been addressed.
During the conduct of the mock elections last Jan. 19 in Barangay Upper Labay here, she said the transmission of results by members of the Electoral Board (EB) took some time due to weak signal.
But she said they were able to find a spot near the polling precinct with enough signal and made the transmission.
Citing a report from the Comelec central office, Miguel said the city was the second area in the entire country that was able to complete the transmission of results to the central server during the mock polls.
“That’s (weak signal) one of the challenges for us. But we’re hoping to replicate the success that we had during the mock polls,” she said in a radio interview.
The local and national midterm elections on May 13 would be the second that the Comelec will use the VCMs.
In the 2016 elections, Miguel said the city was able to achieve 100 percent transmission of results from the precinct level to the Board of Canvassers.
The official said the teachers who would serve as EBs are properly trained on the contingency measures should they encounter problems with the VCMs, which will use subscriber identification modules or sim cards of Globe Telecoms and Smart Communications.
In case of power interruptions, she said all the machines have backup batteries that will immediately activate when needed.
A total of 341 VCMs based on the number of total clustered precincts in 55 identified polling places or centers in the area.
Some 1,023 public school teachers will serve as EBs and 341 others were assigned as support staff.
Comelec listed a total of 301,106 registered voters in the city for the May 13 polls, increasing by 53,636 from the 247,470 in the 2016 local and national elections. (MindaNews)