Comelec eyes use of more VCMs in the May 2022 polls

Published February 4, 2021, 10:29 AM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is planning to increase the number of vote counting machines (VCMs) that will be used in the May 2022 national and local polls.


Comelec Chairman Sheriff M. Abas said this is in order to prevent people from clustering in every polling precinct amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Our initial plan is to have at least five voters at a time casting their votes,” he told ABS CBN Wednesday.

“This is why we will need to increase the number of VCMs that we will be using,” Abas added. 

A clustered precinct is assigned with one VCM which can accommodate 800 to 1,000 registered voters. 

The poll chief said they continue to assess the situation and to think of ways on how they can prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

“During elections, people are gathered inside voting centers or schools. That is a really huge hurdle for us,” said Abas.

Comelec Spokesperson James B. Jimenez announced in October last year that the country is set to use the old VCMs from Smartmatic in the May 2022 polls. 

The poll body actually allocated more than P660 million for the refurbishment of the more than 97,000 VCMs.

In its Invitation to Bid, the Comelec said it intends to apply the sum of P660,741,660.47 being the approved budget for the contract (ABC) to pay for the VCMs refurbishment with consumables.