‘Malfunctioning’ VCMs disrupt voting in Region 12

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/13 May) – Voting in some parts of Region 12 were disrupted on Monday morning due to problems with the Vote Counting Machines (VCM) and the secure digital or SD storage cards.

Lawyer Renato Magbutay, Commission on Elections (Comelec)-Region 12 director, said their monitoring showed that almost all 3,197 clustered precincts opened as scheduled at 6 a.m. but some of the VCMs reportedly “malfunctioned” while a number of SD cards turned out defective.

“Ninety percent of our machines are functioning well right now,” he said in a radio interview around 8:30 a.m.

Two polling precincts at the Tupi Central Elementary School in Tupi, South Cotabato reported problems with VCMs, one at the Cahilsot Elementary School here and one in Alabel Integrated School in Alabel, Sarangani province.

Two SD cards were also found defective in two precincts at Malaya Elementary School in Banga, South Cotabato.

Magbutay said the assigned technical support personnel immediately conducted troubleshooting and processed the replacement of some VCMs and SD cards.

He said the SD cards were reconfigured at the regional technical support hub here following endorsement from the Comelec’s national support center.

The official said the affected polling precincts still continued with the voting processes pending the arrival of the replacement machines and SD cards.

“Once the replacements arrive, the electoral board will feed them to the machines in batches,” he said, adding that these will be conducted in the presence of poll watchers and some of the voters who would opt to wait.

“Our voters should not be worried because their votes will be counted properly and they will not be disenfranchised,” he added.

Aside from these, usual problems like missing names and precincts were also reported here and parts of South Cotabato but most of these were resolved by local Comelec personnel and through the assistance desks of election watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting. (MindaNews)