The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Friday that their Final Testing and Sealing (FTS) of the vote counting machines ((VCMs) to be used on the May 13 midterm elections has found almost 700 Secure Digital (SD) cards to be corrupted.
As of 6 p.m. Firday, some 686 SD cards were found to be corrupted. These have since been replaced with new cards.
These 700 cards represent just a tiny fraction of the total number to be deployed on Monday. According to Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, a total of 85,769 cards are to be used in the polls, with the same number of back-up cards.
“Contingency SD cards allocated per regional technical hub (RTH) (amount to) 125 per RTH,” he said in a statement.
However, while the 700 cards only represent a small percentage of the total cards, Comelec is taking the issue seriously and replacing them with back-up cards.
“We respond by preparing replacement cards, which are then swapped for the corrupted SD cards. We don’t issue out new SD cards unless we get the corrupted SD cards in return,” he said in a separate interview.
The poll body likewise acknowledged that it is good that the FTS caught these issues now, noting that “this is the actual purpose of the FTS.”
The Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) began the process of the FTS this week. The testing involves the initialization of the machines, the voting, the feeding of the accomplished ballots to the VCMs, ending with the printing of the election returns (ERs).
The tests are conducted to find any flaws in the system, such as the corrupted SD cards. With these precautions, the actual day of election can be conducted hitch-free.
After the FTS, the VCMs are sealed and locked away. These will only be opened on Election Day.