Smudges on ballots delay voting in Sorsogon
SORSOGON – Minor problems with the vote counting machines (VCM) halted operations in the same school where independent vice presidential bet Francis “Chiz” Escudero cast his vote.
Elections were stopped for five to 15 minutes at around 9 a.m. after the VCMs in two of the three precincts at Buhatan Integrated National School refused to read the ballots.
“Ayaw basahin kasi yung ibang balota, may marka ng ink,” Gemma Lagamayo, chairman of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) in Buhatan, explained.
(Some of the ballots were not read because there are ink marks on them.)
They managed to continue their operations after taking out smudges on the ballots which triggered the malfunction.
“Nung nilinisan naman namin yung machine at mga balota, naging maayos na ulit,” said Lagamayo.
(When we cleaned up the machine and the ballots, it all went fine again.)
Only 105 votes were cast when the problem arose as voters grew frustrated as the lines extended during the delay.
However, there was no need for a Comelec technician to fix the machine and for the elections to continue.
Escudero and wife Heart Evangelista were among the first ones to vote in Buhatan, avoiding the long lines in the polling precincts.
Overall, it was a peaceful election day in Sorsogon City, with operations in Sorsogon Pilot, Balogo, and Cabid-an Elementary Schools going smoothly towards the middle of the day.
Lagamayo expects no more hitches before the polls close at 5 p.m. CFC/rga
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