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In Ilocos Norte, there are no serious difficulties with VCM testing and sealing.

CITY OF LAOAG – The final testing and sealing (FTS) of VCMs in Ilocos Norte went well on Friday, except for some minor issues and at least one vote-counting machine (VCM) in Bacarra town that did not scan the sample election ballots, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

From the activation of the machines to the voting of ten persons to the feeding of completed ballots to the VCMs, and finally to the printing of election returns, the FTS covered the entire process (ERs).

Some election volunteers and village watchmen joined the FTS in different precincts in Laoag.

As of Friday, Joel Gines, Ilocos Norte’s provincial election supervisor, announced that 14 contingency VCMs will be available in the region in case of a need for replacement.

“The 14 contingency VCMs are slated to arrive in Laoag City this evening,” Gines said, adding that Comelec will employ the same VCMs as in prior elections.

For the first time, a provincial technical hub was established at the Comelec-Ilocos Norte Provincial Office, manned by three personnel from the Departments of Science and Technology and Information and Communication Technology, to assist poll workers in the event that a secure digital (SD) card is found to be defective.

In an interview, Raymond Ardee Soriano, spokesperson for the Provincial Technical Hub, said, “We are assigned to replace SD cards of VCMs in case these are corrupted throughout the election process.”

According to him, every province’s technical center will provide faster SD card replacements, subject to election protocols and guidelines.

“There are 16 primary SD cards and 14 backup SD cards,” he added, adding that poll monitors are invited to see the SD card swap process.

There are 822 VCMs in Ilocos Norte, with 430,000 registered voters, prepositioned in 21 municipalities and two cities.

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