By Leslie Ann Aquino
The final testing and sealing (FTS) of the Vote Counting Machine (VCMs) that will be used in the October 26 polls for the members of the House of Representatives for the first and second legislative districts of Southern Leyte has been set on October 23.
The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) set the date of the FTS in Resolution No. 10604.
“Therefore, the Commission resolves to fix the period of testing and sealing of VCMs, in connection with the October 26 First Regular Elections for Members, House of Representatives, 1st and 2nd Legislative Districts of Southern Leyte, to October 23, 2019 (Wednesday),” read the resolution.
The FTS is an end-to-end test of the process, from the initialization of the machines, to voting, to the feeding of the ballots to the VCMs, and the printing of election returns (ERs).
After, the Comelec will then seal and lock the VCMs in the polling precincts and will not be opened again until Election Day.
Earlier, the poll body already said that the October 26 polls in Southern Leyte will be automated.
“The Automated Election System shall be used in the conduct of the first regular elections for Member, House of Representatives, in the First and Second Legislative Districts of Southern Leyte,” the Comelec said in Resolution No. 10608 promulgated October 7.
And since the elections is not national in scope, involving only one position and covers only two legislative districts, the poll body said the transmission of poll results shall not be through telecommunications, but by manual upload using Secure Digital Cards from precincts to municipal or city boards of canvassers and through compact discs from municipal or city board of canvassers.
The Comelec said all registered voters in the province of Southern Leyte as of the May 13 national and local elections are eligible to vote.
The poll body earlier suspended the holding of elections for district representatives in the said province to a date later than May 13, 2019 in view of the passage of Republic Act No. 11198 which reapportioned the Province of Southern Leyte from a Lone Legislative District into two legislative districts.
RA No. 11198 reapportioning Southern Leyte into two legislative districts became effective on February 19, 2019.