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Philippine election results: Voters test new electronic voting system

The leading candidate in early Philippine election results, Benigno Aquino, was not able to cast his vote because an electronic voting machine malfunctioned.

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Philippine election: Presidential candidate Benigno Aquino (center) votes with other residents in a polling precinct in Tarlac province, in northern Philippines, Monday.

Erik de Castro/Reuters

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Filipinos are awaiting Philippine election results after trooping enthusiastically to the polls Monday to elect a new president, Congress, and local governments, in what is turning out to be a gauge of the maturity of their country’s democracy.

The elections are a test not only of how Filipinos would like to see their country governed but also of the mechanism for choosing their government. For the first time, a computerized vote-counting system is being used, in an effort to stamp out the vote-rigging that has caused chaos in the past.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) estimated that 85 percent of the 50 million-strong electorate turned out to vote, reflecting in part public interest in the novelty of computerization.

Comelec said only about 400 of the more than 80,000 machines malfunctioned during the polling. But there were reports of vote-counting machines malfunctioning in many voting precincts, in some cases causing ill-tempered scenes.

Voting machine malfunctions for top presidential candidate

Many voters complained about waiting in long lines, wilting in the scorching sun, as voters ahead of them struggled to understand new, computer-compatible ballot forms. Comelec kept the precincts open for an extra hour to accommodate the crowds.

Among those who were initially unable to vote because a machine malfunctioned was Benigno Aquino, a top presidential candidate. Early, unofficial tallies of a tiny percentage of the total vote gave Mr. Aquino the lead.

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