How to use the PCOS Machine

PCOS stands for Precinct Count Optical Scanner. It is a machine that reads votes based on pencil markings on a special type of paper. Its maker, Smartmatic gives it the name SAES-1800.

GUIDE: How to vote on May 13

A voter will be given a paper ballot. There are ovals next to each candidate.

The voter shades the oval beside the candidate's number they want to vote for.

Any unnecessary marks made on the ballot, especially on the barcode, will make the ballot invalid. None of the votes will be read by the PCOS machine.

When a voter is done, the ballot is inserted lengthwise into the machine. It does not matter if it is inserted bottom or top first. The voter does not have to force the ballot into the machine. Once the machine senses the ballot, it will "pull" it through and read it. 

If the ballot comes back out, you need to check it to be sure the ovals that you shaded are shaded well and reinsert the ballot into the machine. If it comes out again, recheck it and reinsert it. A voter has four chances to insert the ballot and have it read by the machine. After the fourth time, it is marked as an invalid ballot.

You can vote for fewer candidates, e.g. six instead of 12 senators, or just three instead of 10 councilors, or leave a section blank if you do not wish to vote for any of the candidates for a particular position.

However, you cannot "overvote" or shade more circles than the required number for one position e.g. 14 senators or 12 councilors or two mayors; if you do this, the PCOS machine will automatically consider your vote in the particular position null and void.

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