Nearly 1,900 vote counting machines (VCMs) encountered “common issues” on the first few hours of election day, the Commission on Elections said.
The voting period in began at 6 a.m. and voters will have until 7 p.m. to cast their ballots in their respective precincts.
In an update sent to reporters on Monday at 10:27 a.m., Commissioner George Garcia said 940 machines were marred with paper jams, 606 VCMs rejected ballots, 158 had problems with the scanners, 87 of the machines were not printing, and 76 VCMs had printers which were not printing properly.
Garcia said technicians on-site were able to attend to the problems of the machines and only 10 have been replaced.
In an 11 a.m. update, the poll body said a total of 51 VCMs were defective and 102 SD cards have since been replaced.
Some voters expressed frustration on social media in the first few hours of the polling period because the machines in their respective precincts were not working.
The poll body secured 1,100 contingency machines for this year’s elections.
What can voters do?
Voters have two options when the machine at their precincts are found to be malfunctioning they can either wait for the technicians to finish troubleshooting the machines or they can leave their ballots with the electoral board, who will then conduct a batch feeding of the ballots once the machines start working again.
“You can vote and watchers can watch your pile of voted ballots until they are fed to a VCM. Don’t worry. Just vote,” former Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said in a Twitter post.
Robredo: Lawyers on standby if voters need help
In a statement, vice President and presidential candidate Leni Robredo said their team put up a hotline, which voters can use if they need assistance or if they have complaints related to their voting experience.
“Marami tayong lawyers on standby. Kailangan lang ma-advise lahat na lahat na mapapansin nila na outside the norm kailangan i-report saka i-document,” Robredo said.
(We have a lot of lawyers on standby. They just need to be advised that everything they notice outside the norm should be reported and documented.)
Robredo expressed concern because of the reports of malfunctioning VCMs and election violence coming in from all over the country.
“Sana ipakita ng mga authorities na on top sila ng lahat na nangyayari. Kasi dito namana nakasalalay yung pagtitiwala ng tao sa pamahalaan,” Robredo said.