Comelec in GenSan ready for May 13

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 9 May) – Commission on Elections (Comelec) personnel here are all set for Monday’s local and national midterm elections.

Lawyer April Mitchor-Miguel, city election officer, said Thursday they have finalized all preparations and other necessary arrangements for the conduct of the automated polls within the city’s 26 barangays.

She said they will deploy early on Friday the 341 vote counting machines (VCM) in the same number of clustered precincts in 55 polling centers for its final testing and sealing (FTS).

A total of 301,106 residents are eligible to vote in the May 13 elections, increasing by 53,636 from the 247,470 registered voters in 2016.

She said 1,023 teachers will serve as members of the electoral board (EB) and 341 others as support staff.

During the FTS, she said the assigned EBs will conduct simulations of the actual voting using at least 10 test ballots in all established clustered precincts.

Miguel said the result of the simulation will give them a glimpse of “what might happen on election day.”

“We will test the accuracy and readiness of the machines for Monday’s elections. Hopefully, there will be no major aberrations or problems that would not be solved in our level,” she said in a media forum hosted by the SM mall here.

Miguel said they have assigned trained technicians and support personnel in every polling center that will handle the basic troubleshooting and resolve other possible glitches with the VCMs.

They have prepared contingency VCMs and secure digital or SD cards for the immediate replacement of defective units when necessary, she said.

For this city and South Cotabato province, Miguel said the Comelec central office has assigned at least 100 contingency machines.

The official said the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines and local distribution utility South Cotabato 2 Electric Cooperative assured that there will be enough power supplies in the area during the election day and beyond.

But she said all VCMs have backup batteries that will immediately activate in case of power outage.

Miguel said they will provide broadband global area network or BGAN booster equipment for areas that have limited telecommunication signals, especially in Barangays San Jose and Upper Labay.

For persons with disabilities, elderly and pregnant voters, she said they will open express lanes in all polling centers on election day.

She added that they will also set up waiting areas and provide at least five seats per precincts for voters that would require special assistance. (MindaNews)