DUMAGUETE CITY – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the province of Siquijor reported peaceful balloting on Monday despite slowed down process in some voting precincts, where at least four Secure Digital (SD) cards used in Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) failed.
Lawyer Lionel Marco Castillano, provincial election supervisor of Siquijor, in a telephone interview, said the four SD cards were from the municipalities of San Juan, Siquijor, Larena, and Enrique Villanueva.
Only the two other municipalities – Maria and Lazi – had no problems with the SD cards and therefore can proceed with the counting, canvassing and proclamation of winners, the Comelec official said.
The SD cards that malfunctioned will have to be sent to the regional Comelec Office in Cebu City for replacement, Castillano said.
One of his personnel will leave for Cebu Monday night and is expected to return Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, he added.
Even with the defective SD cards, Castillano said the people were still allowed to cast their votes, the shaded ballots dropped in the ballot boxes. After the close of the voting centers at 6 p.m., the ballot boxes were brought and deposited at the gymnasium near the municipal hall.
The area will be cordoned with police personnel and poll watchers will be around to keep an eye on the ballot boxes until the replacement SD cards arrive and the ballots fed into their respective VCMs, he said.
“After feeding and transmitting of the results, it is only then that these municipalities can finish their canvassing,” Castillano explained.
At the provincial level, the canvassing will also be delayed until these affected municipalities would have finished their own, he said.
“Most probably, we expect we would finish by Wednesday night,” he said.
Castillano, however, could not yet give the specific clustered precincts and the number of registered voters affected by the defective SD cards, pending reports from the four municipalities.
Meanwhile, no untoward incident that would have marred the elections in Siquijor was reported, he said.
Castillano attributed the generally peaceful atmosphere in the province to the efficient security preparations months ahead of the mid-term polls.
He said he was expecting the turnout of voters at around 85 percent or higher. (PNA via NDB)