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Comelec encourages public to try out VCMs in malls ahead of Eleksyon 2022

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday partnered with the SM Supermalls to educate voters and allow them to test the vote counting machines (VCMs) weeks before the May 9 polls.

During the memorandum of agreement (MOA) signing between the two parties, Comelec Chairman Saidamen Pangarungan explained that the VCM demonstration and experience will help each voter familiarize themselves with the machine that will be used to record and transmit their votes.

“With this project, we aim to dispel apprehension and fear of some voters regarding the use and security of the vote counting machines. They are state-of-the art equipment that have been used by other countries. They are engineered to be secure and tamper proof. The programming and codes for the machines are also safe and secure,” he said.

SM Supermalls President Steven Tan noted that all of their 78 malls nationwide will participate in the initiative. The VCM demo in Luzon will be held from April 20 to 24, while those in the Visayas and Mindanao will be from April 22 to 24.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the poll body will allocate about 800 mock ballots per site, per day, which will amount to over 300,000 ballots nationwide. These ballots are dummy with fictitious names, he added.

Jimenez also said the VCM demo in malls will not only be limited to registered voters, but to everyone who wishes to participate.

With a goal of conducting a successful 2022 national and local elections, Pangarungan said educating voters with the usage of the VCMs will help boost their confidence that their votes will be recorded and counted securely.

Further, poll commissioner Marlon Casquejo said the voters’ hands-on experience with the VCMs will also help “eliminate any doubt that they have from the start,” especially among first time voters.

“Most importantly, giving the public this voting experience will lessen errors that the voters usually commit on Election Day in shading the oval, handling the ballot, or even up to how the ballot is being fed to the machine,” he said. — RSJ, GMA News