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While you may already be familiar with how to vote in an automated election, there are a few technical problems that can occur before your vote gets counted and transmitted. These helpful tips to the May 2010 elections illustrates what can go wrong, what Commission on Election (COMELEC) has done, and what you can do to prevent further problems. Many of these potential problems can be prevented by vigilance and your cooperation. Do your part to keep our elections clean by educating yourself about the voting process.

Voter shades his votes on the paper ballot

What can go wrong: Each ballot is 25 inches long. Voters have to go through a lengthy list and shade up to 36 names (in municipalities), which may take time. Election officers may also not have enough felt tip pens for voters.

What you can do: Prepare your list of candidates and bring a cheat sheet. This will help you shade the ovals as fast as you can to give way to other voters. Consider bringing extra felt tip pens and lending them to other voters.

Voter feeds ballot into the PCOS Machine

What can go wrong: Each precinct may serve up to 1,000 voters - expect long lines.
What COMELEC says: COMELEC will extend voting day until midnight if necessary.
What you can do: To avoid standing in line for hours, go to your precinct early. All precincts will be open from 7 am until 6 pm.

Voter feeds ballot into the PCOS Machine

What can go wrong: Power outage!

What COMELEC says: PCOS units have batteries that can last for 16 hours. For complete loss of power at the start of election day, precinct will resort to manual voting.

What you can do: Bring flashlights so you can accomplish your ballot in the dark. If a machine is not working, alert the Bureau of Election Inspector (BEI) and Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) volunteers.

Voter feeds ballot into the PCOS Machine

What can go wrong: A ballot is rejected.

What you can do: Make sure your ballot is neat and free of folds or crumples. If the machine spits out your ballot, insert it a second until the fourth time. If the PCOS still rejects the ballot, return the ballot to the BEI Chairman.

Voter feeds ballot into the PCOS Machine

What can go wrong: Despite keeping your ballot clean and straight, the machine jams. This time, it’s the machine’s fault.

What COMELEC says: There are 6,380 spare PCOS machines that can be used if a unit is not working.
What you can do: Hold on to your ballot and report the error to the BEI.

Voter feeds ballot into the PCOS Machine

What can go wrong: Pre-marked legitimate ballots might have already been fed into the machine.

What COMELEC says: Testing and sealing of the PCOS machine will be done at least three days before election day to ensure that it will not be tampered.

What you can do: Take part in the testing and sealing procedures to make sure that no pre-marked ballots are entered. Help secure the polling places where the machines are installed.

Voter feeds ballot into the PCOS Machine

What can go wrong: A ballot may be rendered void or unreadable by the machine due to markings or scratches on the security marks located on the paper’s edge. Overvoting, or choosing more than the allotted numbers of candidates per position, will also cause your ballot to be void.

What you can do: Make sure not to write anything on the security marks. Shade the ovals fully and double-check to see if you selected the right number of candidates per position. Again, it helps to bring a cheat sheet to avoid these mistakes.