TAIWAN - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) inspected the Smartmatic production facility in Taiwan, where voting machines for next year's polls are being produced.
The Comelec was accompanied by members of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, election watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), and members of the media.
Smartmatic first won the bid for the lease purchase of 23,000 machines in June, and another contract for 70,977 vote-counting machines (VCMs) in September.
On December, the Comelec made a repeat order for another 3,000 machines to Smartmatic to ensure that the machine-to-voter ratio will be kept at 1:800.
Smartmatic currently uses two factories in Taipei to produce over 97,000 VCMs that will be used for the 2016 elections.
Production of the machines had to be moved to Taiwan from Suzhou in mainland China, following concerns that the current West Philippine Sea dispute between the two countries might compromise the production and delivery of the machines in time for the elections.
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The first factory of Smarmatic houses the production of the motherboard, considered as the "main brain" of the hardware of the machine. The process is 99 percent automated to ensure the integrity and quality of the product.
The system employs a strict validation process per station, as well as quality control.
The second factory, meanwhile, is for the assembly of the parts of the machine.
Both facilities are under tight security. Visitors had to undergo strict screening, while media coverage inside the facility was not allowed.
Smartmatic said it has already shipped some 6,000 machines to the Philippines, out of their 15,000 to 20,000 target by the end of December.
The company is scheduled to complete the delivery of the rest of the 93,000 machines by January.
The remaining 3,000 repeat order machines are expected to be delivered by March, owing to some expected delays because of the celebration of the Chinese New Year.