MS 30th Anniversary XXX

Comelec TEST run marred by glitches

The Commission on Elections on Saturday previewed the May 2013 elections by holding mock polls in key areas nationwide and officials liked the outcome. Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the mock polls went smoothly except for hitches.“Mock elections outside of Manila have ended, (we’re) still waiting for the complete results. Except for a glitch in one precinct, mock elections went smoothly. No major was problem reported so far,” he said.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes presides over a mock election in Quezon City to test poll machines on Saturday while  in Manila, a resident looks for his name on the list of registered voters. MANNY PALMERO, DANNY PATA
Voting machines failed to accept the ballots at the University of the Philippines Integrated School in Quezon City. The incident was witnessed by Brillantes and members of a poll watchdog. “We decided to use a back-up machine instead so as to avoid any more glitches. Initially, the first machine did not accept the ballots, maybe because of the paper,” said James Jimenez, Comelec spokesman. Although the replacement machine rejected the first three ballots, it accepted the subsequent ones. There were also reports of errors in PCOS transmission during the dry run in Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, and Cagayan de Oro. Comelec officials said they will correct all the PCOS glitches in time for the May elections.           They believed that the Precinct Count Optical Scan machine failed to accept the ballot because it needed to be warmed up after long periods of rest. Brillantes said the result of the mock elections will expose all potential problems so that the Comelec can solve these woes  in time. He added that another mock election may be conducted depending on the results of dry run. Mock elections will also test the new streamlined voting procedure that we will be implementing this May elections, he said. The mock election was also witnessed by members of election watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting led by its chairperson Henrietta de Villa. The PPCRV was recently accredited by the Comelec as its Citizens’ Arm for this year’s national and local elections. De Villa said she was hoping that the glitches seen during mock polls would prompt the commission to  take emergency measures. “While I was initially nervous, I’m glad it happened because you saw there’s a contingency plan in place,” said De Villa. Former Comelec commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal also expected this year’s  polls to be better than in 2010 when the first automated elections were held. He urged stakeholders to continue their vigilance to avoid lapses in procedure using the voting machines, which the Comelec bought from its 2010 election partner Smartmatic International Corp. Mock elections were also held at Epifanio delos Santos Elementary School and Herminigildo Atienza Elementary School, both in Manila; Iriga City in Iriga Central School and Sta. Teresita Elementary School, and the municipality of Bato at Bato North Elementary School and Atipolo Elementary School, in Camarines Sur; Dumaguete City (City Central Elementary School and Camanjac Elementary School) and the municipality of Sta. Catalina (Santa Catalina North Central School and Kabulacan Elementary School), in Negros Oriental. Cagayan de Oro City at City Central School and Balulang Elementary School and the municipality of Initao (Initao Central School and Oguis Elementary School), in Misamis Oriental; and the municipalities of Bongao (Lamion Walking Blackboard Elementary School and Simandagit Elementary School) in Tawi-Tawi; and Buluan (Pilot Elementary School and Talitay Elementary School) in Maguindanao. In these places, 50 voters from each of the identified voting centers  were tapped. The ballots used in the mock polls had the names of Hollywood actors  such as Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks as well as singers Mariah Carey and Michael Jackson to avoid controversies if the names of actual candidates were printed, a poll official said.
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