The tiempo muerto heat that soared to at least 36 degrees today led to at least 26 Vote Counting Machines conking out in some areas in the province as complaints from voters who claimed their names got lost from precinct lists became the most common at least in the city.
“Linti indi na ko mag rehistro rehistro na (Linti, I will not register anymore),” an exasperated Yolanda Tiapon, 79, said after she was informed by poll personnel at the office of the Commission on Elections here that she had already been deactivated.
“I will not allow it that my child will not be able to vote today,” Vivian, a mother who did not give her surname, told DNX when asked why she was grumbling loudly outside the complaints center of COMELEC-Bacolod.
Vivian said her son was told by a polling precinct official that his name was registered in Pontevedra town and not here.
Vivian and Yolanda are among several residents here who complained to the local office only hours after polling started 6am.
Lawyer Revo Sorbito, acting city election registrar, was hounded early in the morning by questions from failures to feed and other malfunctions by VCMs to missing ballot serial numbers.
He said there is no need for serial numbers and voting can proceed without it.
Comelec protocols require precinct poll inspectors to record it in the minutes and contingency plans are already in place for precincts where VCMs fail to feed.
Some voters, however, refused to leave their ballots and sign waivers authorizing precinct tellers to feed the ballots in their absence.
Outside the E. Garcia Elementary School in Alijis village, private cars lined the streets for hours, a different scenario compared to past polls, a traffic emforcer who asked not to be named.
Past the curb of the road, Emilia, a snack vendor reports good sales selling boiled saba bananas, boiled eggs and noodles by 8am, two hours after the opening of precincts.
At Camp Alfredo Montelibano where the National Police Provincial Command is based, provincial police spokesperson Lt. Abegael Donasco told DNX the polls remained “generally peaceful” as of 3pm.
Except for reports of 26 defective VCMs breaking down and power outages, no violent poll-related events were reported.
The 26 VCMs were broken down according to status by 3pm are:
- 26 defective
- 9 waiting for replacement/troubleshooting
- 14 replaced/fixed
- two for manual count
- one for transfer to a different VCM(SD card)