MANILA, May 2, 2016 – As part of its pre-election activities, the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines joined the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), and other political party watchers in one of the sites for a mock election on April 23.
NAMFREL has requested the other poll watchers to observe and provide recommendations following the mock elections, Random Manual Audit (RMA), and transmission tests for the actual polls on May 9.
The mock election polling center of Manila Science High School for precincts 2683 A-D (Brgy 669), was moved to the Robinson’s Manila mall polling site. Representatives of NAMFREL, PPCRV, PDP-Laban, Tinig Marino, PNP, joined the mock polls as voters and as observers.
The poll watchers observed the following:
- Vote-Counting Machine (VCM) was accurate in reading the votes being filled in the ballot, including “undervotes” and “overvotes” of candidates;
- The online verification flashed on the screen for one second right after ballot insertion;
- Receipts to indicate the votes from the ballot were printed and Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) assisted to tear the receipt by hand, ensuring the print was covered, and reminded voters to check if the receipt printed reflected their actual votes;
- The voters were asked to drop their receipts in a black box as it is an election offense to bring them outside the polling room.
All who participated, particularly the 50 mock voters, were asked to register their names.
Transmission started at the go signal from COMELEC after 50 mock ballots were cast. Observers witnessed the closing of voting with 3 verifications needed, printing of the first 8 election returns, and waited for the signal to transmit to the required destinations, raising their questions and clarifications after.
Vote-Counting Machine fails?
The vote-counting machine of precincts 2683 A-D at the Manila Science High School Polling Center stationed at Robinson’s Manila in Malate, failed to transmit mock election results to the City Board of Canvassers (CBOC) at Tondo, Manila even after 4 attempts and changing their service provider from SMART to Globe.
The Canvassing and Consolidation System (CCS) Server at the National Capital Region was “unreachable”, according to the transmission report printed after the failure to transmit.
Other observations include:
- No clear information on the change of venue;
- No clear directions for the layout (registration is at the back of “entrance”);
- Having a table with chair for “special needs” but no one was on stand-by to assist senior citizens in need.
Twenty sites were selected in Taguig, Pateros, Quezon City, Manila, Camarines Sur (Iriga and Buhi), Bohol (Albuquerque and Cortes), Davao (Digos and Bansalan) for hosting the mock election from 6:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on April 23.
Together with NAMFREL volunteers, NASSA gave feedback on the mock elections in the Manila District 5 site based on the forms provided by NAMFREL. (SocialActionNews)