Migrante Partylist feared massive disenfranchisement brought about by widespread reports of malfunctioning PCOS machines a few hours into the mid-term elections.
Citing reports from its poll watchers and volunteers scattered around the country, Migrante Partylist 1st Nominee and Chairperson Connie Bragas-Regalado said that most common complaints include PCOS machine shutdowns, rejected ballots, paper jams and other malfunctions. Some PCOS machines do not even have back-up drives.
“Because of these, long queues are building up in numerous clustered precincts. People are getting fed up and are opting to go home or failing to vote because they still have to go to work,” Bragas-Regalado said.
Bragas-Regalado estimated that tens of thousands of voters are in danger of being disenfranchised if the problem of faulty PCOS machines continues throughout the day.
Vulnerable to fraud
Bragas-Regalado also said that faulty PCOS machines make the mid-term elections very vulnerable to fraud.
She cited in that in some clustered precincts where ballots are being rejected by PCOS machines, voters are being advised by the BEI to ‘leave their ballots at sila na lang daw ang magpapasok sa PCOS after 7pm’.
“We ask Comelec, is this even legal? How can they ensure that these ballots will be guarded, that they will not be tampered with? Filled ballots lying around precincts are very tempting to those who want to cheat or take advantage of the situation,” she said.
Comelec is accountable
Bragas-Regalado said that as early as now, the Comelec should be held accountable for the faulty PCOS machines.
She said that the widespread problem of malfunctioning machines is a result of the Comelec’s taking for granted the importance of PCOS testing despite clamour from concerned groups months before the elections.
“They put it off until the last minute. We have received reports that in some clustered precincts, PCOS testing were still ongoing until early this morning. Kung ganito ang kondukta, hindi na nakakagulat na PCOS machines ang karaniwang problema ngayong eleksyon,” Bragas-Regalado said.
Bragas-Regalado said that they are also monitoring the conduct of elections abroad. “Today is the last day of the overseas absentee voting (OAV). We expect more reports from the OAV to come in later today,” she said.
For election-related anomalies, voters here and abroad can contact Migrante’s Bantay-Boto/Bantay-OAV Hotlines via mobile numbers 0932-7043274 or 0928-4795166. ###