Comelec establishes protocols for the repair, replacement of faulty VCMs, SD cards

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 22) — The Electoral Commission (Comelec) has set up technical centers to replace Secure Digital (SD) cards and vote counting machines (VCM) which could encounter problems on 9 May.

In a resolution signed into law on April 20 but released only Friday, Comelec said there would be 82 hubs for replacing faulty SD cards and eight sites for VCMs nationwide.

Each technical hub will be directly supervised and controlled by the relevant Regional Elections Director, Provincial Elections Supervisor or Elections Official depending on its location.

The designated polling officer must keep an inventory and keep defective cards, while the relevant Comelec field agent must report the count of defective machines.

Personnel tasked with replacing problem SD cards will only come from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the resolution says.

For faulty VCMs, Comelec field staff designated by the relevant Regional Electoral Officer will arrange for their repair.

Candidates, duly registered political parties or coalitions thereof, participants in the party list system and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) or other accredited citizen arms may appoint two observers in each center where they will serve alternately.

The candidates of the same party or the same coalition collectively have the right to an observer at all times.

Regional Electoral Officers who have Technical Hub Electoral Jurisdiction will be responsible for approving applications, with the exception of applications from Calabarzon (Region 4A) which must be filed with the Capital Region Electoral Officer.

Hours before the resolution was released, the Philippine Consulate General in New York temporarily halted the feeding of ballots after one of the two remaining ballots got stuck in a vote counting machine.

The consulate said the remaining ballots would be distributed next Monday, April 25.