Comelec launches faster vote counting machine

LAOAG CITY, February 27 (PIA) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) here has tested in a dry run on Tuesday the new vote counting machine (VCM) which is capable of validating votes in 44 seconds.

Lawyer Julius Harvey P. Balbas, Laoag City election officer said the VCM is an updated model of the Precinct Council Scan (PCOS) machines used during the 2010 and 2013 elections.

“We have more powerful machines for this May 2016 polls which are faster and easier to operate. Per voter, after shading the ballots, in less than 44 seconds votes are cast,” Balbas said.

The machine which, Balbas, likened to the performance to an upgraded version of an Iphone series when compared to other units, are also user-friendly.

He said based on their seminar for election officers held in Manila, the machine is easy to run that even a senior citizen can follow its operation.

Balbas also disregarded the concern on power interruption saying that the machine is capable of energy back-up to about 16-20 hours.

Meanwhile, Provincial Election Supervisor lawyer Marino Salas said that of the 90,000 VCMs have been delivered to the Comelec’s hub in Laguna, 83,000 were issued to the provinces.

The Comelec has ordered 120,000 voting equipment from Smartmatic.

The machines’ features include: a secured source code that makes sure the votes are interpreted correctly; an ultraviolet lamp that makes sure no fake ballot is inserted into the machine; and digital signatures of the Board of Election Inspectors, who will certify the poll returns.

A voter verification paper audit trail (VVPAT) serves as receipt of a person’s votes. The machines are not only able to print a tape receipt but also have touch screen monitors that reflect the votes on the ballot.

To test the efficiency of the machine, members of the Ilocos Norte media underwent a dry run during the launching program at the PIA-KBP Ilocandia Forum through the conduct of an on-the-spot sample voting.

In less than 44 seconds, votes were cast and validated by the machine.

Salas said that the only problem with the machine is the inappropriate shading of the ballots which can cause the machine to disregard the vote.

He then advised the public to carefully read the directions in the ballot to avoid errors that can cause election delay. (Cherry Joy Garma/PIA1- Ilocos Norte)