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Comelec extends voting hours until 7 p.m.

May 10, 2010 11:58am

(Updated 1:44 p.m.) The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has extended the voting hours by one hour amid reports of delays that marred the start of voting earlier in the day.

Comelec chairman Jose Melo said they have decided to extend the voting hours, which was originally from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

With the additional hour, voters can cast their votes until 7 p.m.

"We would like to inform everybody especially those out there voting and the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) thtat it seems that the start the voting process was not as fast as we had expected or desired," Melo said at a press briefing.

Aside from the technological glitches, Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said that one of the major reasons for the delay in voting is the clogging of voters at the verification area.

"The bottleneck is the verfiication... the feeding of the ballot is not the problem," he said.

There is usually only one BEI who verifies the identity of the voter, causing a pileup in the number of voters awaiting their turn. But Larrazabal said they have already instructed the BEIs to enlist the help of the three support staff in the precinct.

"They have the means, they have the resources, they have the manpower to assist the voters in a speedy manner," he said.

Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento added that they have already instructed some Department of Education (DepEd) instructors to be in charge of voters' assistance and crowd management.

"(They can) attend to these express lanes for pregnant women, elderly and even detainees," he said.

Melo, for his part, advised voters to hasten their voting to give other voters a chance to cast their votes. Sarmiento added that just bringing a list of the candidates whom you will vote for can speed up the voting process.

Earlier, Smartmatic Asia presiden Cesar Flores said they had found 328 defective Precint Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines during the conduct of the polls. He said that they have replaced 239 and are in the process of replacing the remaining 89.— RSJ/LBG, GMANewsTV
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