With more voters, Comelec to lease 3,500 extra machines
THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) has decided to lease 3,540 more voting machines for about P133 million due to the unexpected high turnout of registrants who beat the Oct. 31 deadline to list up to vote in the May 2016 elections.
In a press briefing Monday, Election Commissioner Christian Robert Lim said the poll agency decided to make a repeat order and add to the 93,977 optical mark readers (OMR) from technology provider Smartmatic-TIM.
Lim explained that the Comelec had to lease more OMRs since the number of registrants for the May 9 elections exceeded the poll body’s expectations.
The Comelec had expected 53 million registrants but latest reports from election offices nationwide showed 54.5 million had signed up.
“This translates to more or less 93,647 clustered precincts. With the current number of [machines] that we have, which is 93,977, it would not be sufficient for the number of clustered precincts, that’s why we decided to exercise a repeat order,” Lim said.
Due to the high number of registered voters, the Comelec had to modify its clustering scheme of established precincts from 92,000 to 93,647 clustered polling centers, said Lim, also the chair of the Comelec steering committee for the 2016 elections.
He said the move would allow the Comelec to meet the ratio of one voting machine per 800 voters, which would improve the voting experience and cut queuing time, and to maintain 4 percent of the total number of OMRs, or roughly 3,900 as backup machines.
“Considering there would be an 80-percent voter turnout, we are expecting about 600 to 640 voters turning out per precinct,” he said.
“[And] in case of a failure of machines during election day, we can immediately replace the machines and avoid disruptions in the election process,” he added.
The Comelec said there was also a need to order extra OMRs because it had decided to augment the number of overseas absentee voting (OAV) jurisdictions that would use the voting machines.
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