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Day 5: Overseas voting picks up in Bayanihan as weather improves

17 April 2019

By Vir B. Lumicao
Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, table and indoor
Signs banning use of phones/cameras inside voting precincts are prominently displayed

More voters turned up at the Bayanihan Center in Kennedy Town today, Day 5 of the month-long midterm elections for Filipinos in Hong Kong, than on any of the past two days as the weather improved.

Consul Fatima Quintin, who was supervising the election secretariat, expressed hope that the voter turnout for each precinct will be better than on Apr 15 and 16, the first two working days of the week.    

She said that on each of these days, the number of voters reached nearly 300, but  declined to give an exact figure due to prohibitions from the Commission on Elections.
In the voting precincts, most election inspectors said their vote counting machines had so far been “cooperative” with no malfunctions as more of the 87,441 registered Filipino voters in Hong Kong came to cast their ballot.

Only one of the nine precincts, the one used by Special Board of Election Inspectors (SBEI) 2 on the fourth floor of Bayanihan, continued to experience glitches as its vote-counting machine rejected ballots every once in a while.
An inspector in the precinct said the machine that malfunctioned today was the replacement for the VCM that also could not read ballots cast on Tuesday.                                                                                                  
One female voter said her ballot was rejected five times before the machine accepted it. Another voter, also a woman, said her ballot was invalidated.

Quintin said the voter accidentally dropped her marking pen, leaving a mark on her ballot that caused the VCM to invalidate her ballot.

She said around 3:30pm that the turnout today appeared better than on the previous two weekdays, probably due in part to the brighter and drier weather.
“There are normally fewer voters on weekdays than on Sundays because most of the voters are working,” Quintin said.

The consul, nevertheless, expressed hope that more voters would come before the polling center closed at 5pm.


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