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Congress is being pushed to investigate ‘defective’ voting equipment.
MANILA, Philippines — On Tuesday, Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez requested the House of Representatives to investigate reports that many vote-counting machines (VCMs) across the country were failing.
Thousands of voters were disenfranchised as a result of faulty VCMs and secure digital (SD) or memory cards, according to Rodriguez.
“We owe it to our voters to evaluate these reports and urge corrective action, whether through legislation or administrative fines or penalties imposed by the Commission on Elections on relevant individuals and/or its automation service provider, Smartmatic,” he said in a statement.
Rodriguez encouraged the polling organization to inform the public of the number of VCMs that failed, the polling areas where the defective equipment was used, the actions taken, as well as the number of voters affected.
“These concerns have not been remedied by the Comelec or its automation contractor.” “There has to be a solution,” he stated emphatically.
Despite the fact that the voting process on May 9 was relatively orderly, Rodriguez said he couldn’t understand why so many vote-counting machines and their SD cards failed, especially given the equipment were supposed to have been inspected for flaws a few days prior.
He noted allegations that several VCMs did not work as early as the first hour of voting in some sections of Quezon City.
He also mentioned that replacing them takes six hours, but when the replacement machines arrived at the voting locations just after midday on Monday, poll workers discovered that their memory cards were “corrupted.”
Rodriguez noted that Comelec personnel had to obtain fresh SD cards from the poll body’s warehouse in Laguna, which took at least 12 hours and forced impacted voters to spend the night at their polling centers in order to cast their votes.
“In future elections, our voters should not have to go through this sad, unpleasant, and completely avoidable experience,” he stated.