CONTEXT: Amid numerous reports on social media of vote-counting machines breaking down, there have been calls on social media that only the voter has the right to feed their ballot into the vote-counting machine. This is due to various reports stating that members of the election board have been requesting voters affected by breakdowns to leave their ballots behind and sign a waiver for their right to receive a voting receipt, as the election board will be responsible for feeding the ballots in the replacement voting machine later on.
Under COMELEC resolution 10759 (2022), while the ballot should only be seen by the voter in most cases, other election officials can handle the ballot under contingency measures. Notably, when a vote counting machine breaks down, voters can opt to either wait for a vote counting machine to arrive and feed the ballot in themselves; or allow the election board official to feed the ballot later on when the replacement machine arrives. If they opt for the latter, then they should sign a waiver to this effect.
If replacement machines are unavailable, the election board will be responsible for feeding the ballot while they find other machines that have already completed transmission. The ballots to be fed must be stored in a designated envelope. The process of feeding the ballots by the electoral board must be accompanied by poll watchers.
Despite these contingency measures, voters are still encouraged to wait for replacement VCMs to arrive in order to be assured that their votes are counted correctly. The procedures laid out by COMELEC in case of contingencies allow ballot switching or other cases of vote manipulation if done incorrectly.
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