MANILA—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will be conducting next month the Final Testing and Sealing (FTS) of the vote counting machines (VCMs) that will be used in 30 Philippine posts abroad for the overseas absentee voting (OAV).
According to Comelec Resolution No. 10051, the FTS for the VCMs should be conducted weeks ahead of the start of the voting period on April 9.
“The VCM shall be tested within three weeks before the start of the voting period,” it added.
The FTS is the last procedure meant to check the completeness, security, and accuracy of the VCMs before they are used on Election Day.
During the activity, there will be actual voting using 10 FTS-specific ballots, which will then be fed to the VCMs.
The VCMs shall generate eight copies of the results using the thermal papers.
The accomplished ballots shall be manually counted and verified by the Special Board of Election Inspectors (SBEIs).
Candidates, political parties, and party-list groups will be notified prior to the conduct of the FTS.
“The Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) shall notify them at least three days before the testing and sealing of the VCMs by posting a notice of the date, time, and place thereof, in the official website of the Commission,” the resolution added.
The machines will be disconnected from the power cable with the election paraphernalia to be used and placed inside the ballot boxes.
The VCMs will be sealed and will not be opened until the start of the polls.
Meanwhile, the VCMs are set to be used in Philippine posts in Agana, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, Ottawa, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, London, Madrid, Milan, Rome, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka, Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo, Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait, Manama, Al Khobar, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv, according to Comelec Minute Resolution No. 15-0798.
A total of 26 Philippine posts will utilize the postal manual voting system and another 26 will use the personal manual voting system.
The voting period for the OAV will be from April 9 (8:00 a.m., host country time) up to May 9 (7:00 p.m., Philippine time).