(File photo)

MANILA – An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday reported that the refurbishment of over 97,000 vote counting machines is almost complete.

“We already refurbished 99.6 percent VCMs, that is 96,981. But we do have a number of them quarantined. It means the repairs are ongoing on 334 units or 0.3 percent,” said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez in a press briefing.

Jimenez added that other tests will be done on the VCMs.

"We’ve already done two rounds of tests. The third round is undergoing validation. It was completed on November 20, 2021 but we are still validating the result of that,” the poll body official added

There are more than 97,700 VCMs that need to be refurbished to be utilized in the May 9, 2022 National and Local Elections (NLE).

The restoration of the machines started in July.

Jimenez said the 10,000 new VCMs will be undergoing configuration after the mock elections, which will be held on the last week of December.

On the other hand, he added that in the mock polls, actual voters will participate in the event.

“The mock elections will be a public test. We will use actual voters to see how they behave in the field. Prior to that a field test to determine the precincts and canvassed results can be electronically transmitted from the precincts to where it is supposed to go,” the Comelec spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Jimenez also reported that the country so far has some 65.5 million registered voters.

“As of today, the projected number of voyeurs for 2022 stands at 65.5 million. The turnout of the entire registration process, we added to the list of voters a total of 8,147,080,” he said.

The poll body official added that they recorded the largest group of registrants in the 18-21 bracket are those aged 21 years old, at 1,548,469.

"The largest group of registrants in the 18 to 21 bracket are the 21-year-old registrants coming up to a total of 750,578 for males and 796,891 females. If you remember at the start of all of this, we said that we expected around 4 million people will turn 18 years old. As it turns out, we got 4,094,614, these are the registrants aged 18 to 21,” Jimenez added.

The extended nationwide voter registration ended on October 30. (PNA)