Waive the right to a receipt, or wait

In times of Vote Counting Machine (VCM) problems, Batch Ballot Feeding is a contingency plan created by Comelec for voters who cannot wait for the problem to be resolved.

MANILA, Philippines – On Election Day, Monday, May 9, several social media posts raised concerns about how malfunctions in the Vote Counting Machine (VCM) are being handled: voters have the option to leave their completed ballots with election officials, who say they will insert them into the machine once the technical problem is resolved.

The viral posts make the option offered by election officials seem like a shady maneuver to manipulate election results, so much so that the phrase “Don’t leave your ballot” is trending on Twitter.

However, this option offered by election officials is actually part of the Electoral Commission (Comelec) contingency plans for technical issues with the VCM.

According to Comelec Resolution 10759 signed in January, voters voting or waiting to vote may be offered two options in the event of a VCM malfunction:

First, proceed with the obfuscation of their ballots with a waiver of their right to be issued a voter receipt. In this case, the ballots will be temporarily placed in the envelope of rejected ballots, unused half or torn official ballots and the other half of unused torn official ballots and counted official ballots. They will be fed in batches before the closing of the polls.

The second option is to simply wait for the malfunction of the VCM to be resolved or for the replacement VCM to arrive in order to personally introduce their ballot into the machine.

The same Comelec resolution also requires the presence of observers when emergency procedures are undertaken.

On social media, several voters said they chose the second option.

As of 10 a.m. Monday, May 9, Comelec said at least 1,867 VCMs with issues have been resolved. –Rappler.com

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