Monday, 10 May 2010

Filipinos vote in first automated polls

By Abigail Kwok

MANILA, Philippines – The first automated national elections has begun 7 a.m. Monday with the opening of thousands of voting centers in the country nationwide.

“We are both nervous and excited,” Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal told reporters at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

“Nervous because you really don’t know what to expect; excited because this is it. A lot of Filipinos are looking forward to this day,” he added.

The Commission on Elections said they were expecting an 85 percent voters’ turnout of the 50.7 million registered voters.

Larrazabal said that May 10 was just the beginning.

“It’s not yet over. We still have the counting and the proclamation,” he said.

Larrazabal said they would be receiving first updates from various polling precincts as early as 9 a.m.

“By 9 a.m. we should know how many PCOS [precinct count optical scan] machines are running, how many are not,” he said.

Comelec is expected to provide updates on the conduct of the polls nationwide at 10 a.m.

On Sunday, Comelec said that there could be delays in voting in 1,500 precincts as some of the re-configured compact flash cards have yet to be tested. There were also some problems encountered with the PCOS machines.

Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento was quoted as saying that the Comelec was 98 percent ready.

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