At a voting center in Bacoor, Cavite, it was déjà vu for residents during a public demonstration of the “hybrid” voting system utilizing the precinct automatic tallying system (Patas) organized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) at the Bacoor National High School Annex in Barangay Tabing Dagat. They were taken back to the time prior to the advent of automated voting in the Philippines. They filled out the ballots by hand, writing in the names of their candidates, and the count was tallied on a blackboard. But some things were new.
The online voters’ registration program of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Commission on Elections can now be accessed by overseas Filipino workers worldwide. The DFA-Overseas Voting Secretariat said on Thursday that it had opened iRehistro in the Foreign Service Posts in the Asia-Pacific region. Through the iRehistro program, OFWs can fill out voters’ registration forms in their homes, workplaces, and Internet cafés in their convenience. They can also set their appointment in the FSPs through iRehistro where they will sign their duly-accomplished forms and have their biometrics captured.
It is less than a year before the 2016 presidential elections, but the PCOS machines to be used are still not ready. This is after the Commission on Elections again disqualified Smartmatic-TIM from supplying 23,000 additional PCOS vote-counting machines for the elections because of incomplete documents and because demo units failed to meet technical requirements. Smartmatic has already filed a Motion for Reconsideratino to Comelec. In a statement, Smartmatic Asia president Cesar Flores said the company is confident they will still get the contract.
Philippines: Hybrid system of manual voting, automated canvassing pitched for 2016 elections | InterAksyon
Saying time was running out for the task of refurbishing the 82,000 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines, a lawmaker on Wednesday pushed for a hybrid system of elections for May 2016. “It will be manual voting and automated canvassing,” Bayan Muna partylist Representative Neri Colmenares said at the regular news conference of the minority bloc at the House of Representatives. “With this, there is no need for billions of pesos and sophisticated technology,” he added. What will be needed are laptops and a secured program that will be used to canvass the total number of votes from the precinct level up to the national level, according to Colmenares. “The checks and balance will be at the canvassing of votes at the precinct level, because people will know the results there,” he said.
Philippines: Comelec decides against testing electronic voting system in 2016 | Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will no longer push through with a plan to pilot-test the touch screen technology during the 2016 elections. In a memorandum, the Comelec said it would not be pilot-testing the direct recording electronic (DRE) voting system, as this would just present an “unnecessary hurdle” in the preparations for the May 2016 presidential polls. “The value of pilot-testing the DRE technology and its potential to further revolutionize Philippine elections are undeniable. However, present circumstances sway the undersigned that pilot-testing the use of DRE voting machines in Pateros is an unnecessary hurdle to the already daunting task of conducting the 2016 polls,” said the memorandum signed by acting Comelec Chair Christian Robert Lim.
Following the Supreme Court ruling voiding its contract to repair the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is now looking for alternative machines to be used in the May 2016 elections. Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body will ready an alternative plan and not wait for the ruling on the motion for reconsideration to be filed by Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) Corp. “The possibility of the motion for reconsideration being granted in the future cannot be a basis for the Comelec not to take any action at this time. We need to start our preparations already,” Jimenez said.
With only a year, two weeks and three days to go before the 2016 polls, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is considering using only the 23,000 optical mark reader (OMR) machines that are the subject of a public bidding, under a centralized setup, a spokesman for the agency said Wednesday. Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said this “central count optical system” would bypass the need for the old 81,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines, after the Supreme Court nullified a negotiated contract with Smartmatic-TIM to have them refurbished and repaired. “What we plan now is to use the machines that are still in the bidding process. We are considering using the 23,000 OMR units for a central count optical system,” Jimenez said. The CCOS would entail transporting ballots from a group of precincts to a designated voting center where they would be scanned and tabulated.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will no longer purchase precinct-based direct recording electronic (DRE) machines amid questions on the reliability of the touch screen technology. Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez on Tuesday said the Comelec en banc had shelved the bidding of the project, which should have been part of the poll body’s P2.503 billion voting machines procurement program. Jimenez explained that the project has not been totally scrapped but the commission is “going a little slower on it than we used to.” The Comelec en banc recently came out with a resolution suspending the progress of the second round of bidding for the DRE and the pilot testing of the technology.
Voters in the coming elections may not be able to try out the new automated election system (AES) after all. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is reportedly having second thoughts on pilot-testing the touch screen technology and Internet voting system for the 2016 electoral exercise. A Comelec source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the commission is reviewing a previous decision to pilot test the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) or touchscreen technology.
Philippines: Comelec willing to shelve Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) technology | The Manila Times
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) may abandon a planned pilot-testing of a touchscreen voting system or Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) technology in Pateros, Metro Manila for the 2016 elections as some lawmakers and information technology experts criticize the system for being expensive and less transparent. If it will do away with the DRE testing, the poll body will have no choice but to use the existing Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines. Acting Comelec Chairman Christian Robert Lim, during a recent hearing of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Elections System (JCOC-AES), said the poll body can still cancel the pilot-testing of the DRE technology since the contract for the supply of DRE machines has not been awarded. Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, chairman of the joint panel, asked Lim about the possibility of shelving the touchscreen voting in 2016 and use PCOS or the transparent and credible election system (TCrES), which is being pushed by various election watch groups and Filipino IT experts.