PH consulate in NY suspends OAV feeding due to ballot jam

The Philippine consulate general in New York City temporarily suspended the overseas absentee voting (OAV) ballot feeding after vote-counting machines (VCMs) encountered technical problems.

As the second batch of OAV ballots was fed into the VCMs at the Kalayaan Hall polling center on Thursday, a ballot got stuck while another got split into two, half of which went into the VCM. The other half was ejected by the machine.

Consul Ricarte Abejuela told ABS-CBN News that the said ballot that could not be retrieved will no longer be counted.

While there are two backup VCMs, the consulate decided to suspend ballot feeding until further guidance from the Commission of Elections in Manila.

The remaining ballots will be fed in the next ballot feeding session on Monday, April 25.

Meanwhile, Consul General Elmer Cato said they are still on track to send out all the ballots as more than 82% of the 39,048 OAV ballots have been mailed out as of Friday morning.

Cato added that several ballots that were returned back to the consulate are now available for pick up or re-mailing to the correct address.

If registered voters find their names on a list posted on the consulate website, their OAV ballot is at the consulate in New York.

“For the returned ballots, we have already uploaded on our website the surnames and initials of those whose ballots have returned. And if they see their names there, send us an email and we can discuss options. Either we mail it back to them in their correct address. Or they can opt to pick it up here,” Abejuela said.

Voters may send an e-mail at newyorkpcg.ov@dfa.gov.ph with the subject “RTS + (their name)” to be informed of options on how to receive their ballot packet.

There are 17 more days left before the absolute deadline on May 9.

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