One week before elections, PCOS faces more glitches

by Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 06 2013 03:20 PM | Updated as of May 07 2013 05:23 AM

MANILA - Several glitches marred the testing and sealing of the precinct-count optical scan (PCOS) machines in a school in Quezon City today as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) resumed its series of dry runs for the upcoming midterm elections.

Some cluster precincts in President Corazon Aquino Elementary School in Batasan had hardly begun the mock elections when the PCOS machines appeared to be malfunctioning already even before the final testing and sealing (FTS) process could start.

In Cluster 288, for example, which is composed of five precincts, the machine did not accept the Security Code being registered by the poll clerks.

The poll clerks were merely copying the number code provided by Comelec but it registered as "incorrect".

Board of Election Inspector Chairperson Onoritz Tagumpay attested to the seemingly malfunctioning counting machine.

"Pagpasok ko ng pin, nanghingi sya agad ng second pin. Supposed to be hindi pa muna kasi magru-run pa kami ng diagnostics," she says.

In Cluster 273, meanwhile, the machine failed to initiate after the screen revealed the message "terminated unexpectedly". The poll clerks did not do anything but just plug in the machine.

"Ino-open namin pero yun na naman ang lumalabas so baka may problema ito," said Board of Election Inspector Rose Sarong.

There were also cases of paper jamming and machines stalling for a few minutes but all of them worked eventually. The delays brought dismay to mock voters.

Like in previous testing in other cities, there were also discrepancies in the results of the votes. This is due largely to ballots with overshading, undershading and overvoting instances that were not counted by the machines and made a difference on the scores.

There was one cluster where results were different because one voter voted for 14 senators, instead of just 12. "Kaya hindi binilang kasi dose lang dapat ginawa niyang 14".

There were more PCOS machines that worked compared to those that experienced glitches.

One machine accounts for at least a thousand voters.

One machine not functioning perfectly, however, means at least a thousand who will be unable to vote on election day.