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Philippines: Reuse of Precinct Count Optical Scan machines recommended for 2016 polls | Rappler

The Comelec Advisory Council (CAC) is recommending the reuse of existing precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines and the use of one or more voting technologies for the 2016 national elections. CAC Chairman Louie Casambre announced the body’s recommendations during the joint congressional oversight committee (JCOC) hearing on the automated election system at the Senate on Thursday, August 14. The recommendations were submitted to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday. The CAC recommended the optical mark reader (OMR) technology used by the PCOS machines to be the primary voting technology in 2016. ”The electorate and the election officials are used to it already,” explained Casambre. Read More


Philippines: Comelec to hold pilot tests on online voting | Inquirer

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has announced its plan to pilot-test a scheme that will allow Filipinos abroad to cast their ballots through the Internet during the 2016 elections. According to Commissioner Lucenito Tagle, chair of the Office for Overseas Voting, the commission was already looking at conducting the pilot test in areas in the Americas, the Middle East, Hong Kong and Singapore. The move was in response to the Senate’s call for the election body to find a technology that will allow overseas absentee voting using the Internet. “We are looking at these areas for pilot testing in 2016 [as] they have the adequate technology, Internet connection and large overseas Filipino concentration, which are needed for pilot-testing,” Tagle told reporters in an interview. Read More


Philippines: Drilon pushes on-line voting for Filipinos overseas in 2016 | Manila Bulletin

Senate President Franklin Drilon yesterday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to strengthen the government’s Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) program so more overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) can exercise their right to suffrage without leaving their jobs or residences abroad. “It is high time that the Comelec adopt all the necessary technologies that would empower about 10 to 12 million overseas Filipinos to use the Internet to register and vote in 2016 and onwards,” said Drilon, principal author of the OAV Act of 2003. He said the modes of registration and voting under the OAV law, Republic Act 9189 as amended by RA No. 10590, through mail or personal appearance at the Philippine embassies or consulates abroad, limit overseas voter registration and actual voting. Read More


Philippines: Comelec suggests use of direct-recording electronic voting machines in 2016 | InterAksyon

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has recommended to Congress and Malacanang the use direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines for the 2016 presidential elections in order to speed up the casting and canvassing of votes. In an exclusive interview after attending the hearing on electoral reforms in the Senate, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., said that the idea was one of the three alternatives discussed with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Electoral Reforms. “We have submitted to Congress some alternatives, kasi puwede naman namin gamitin ang DRE, ang Direct-recording Electronic voting machine, pero magastos,” Brillantes said. Brillantes said the machine will cost the government about P60 billion. “KungDRE (Direct-Recording Electronic) system, P60 billion, kaya ba natin ibigay iyon?Read More


Philippines: Comelec plans to introduce internet voting in 2016 polls | Sun Star

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is looking to introduce internet voting in the 2016 national and local polls. Commissioner Lucenito Tagle, chairman of the poll body’s Committee on Overseas Absentee Voting (COAV), said they are looking to utilize the internet technology in the next polls based on Republic Act (RA) 10590 or the amended Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2013. ”This is the best way we can increase voter participation sa overseas absentee voting… that is why we want to pilot test this internet voting after we were authorized by this new law,” he said. If approved, those who will be able to use the new mode in voting are seafarers and those working in areas distant from Philippine embassies and consulates. ”As of now, there is about a 50-50 percent chance of us being able to conduct the internet voting pilot testing,” he said. Read More


Philippines: Comelec vows to improve absentee voting for 2016 polls | Phillipine Star

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is working to improve overseas absentee voting (OAV) for the 2016 presidential polls. Speaking to reporters, Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said a new system must be adopted to encourage Filipinos abroad to participate in national elections. “Voter’s registration was increasing but the turnout is still low,” he said. “That is why we have a new law already. We have taken out the (word) absentee, it’s just overseas voting. We are creating a special office for overseas voters because everybody agrees there’s really a problem.” The government must deal with the difficulty of many overseas Filipinos who have to go to Philippine embassies and other diplomatic posts to vote, he added. Read More


Philippines: Will manual recount show more votes than voters? | The Philippine Star

Comelec chief Sixto Brillantes will never allow a manual recount of even only the automated senatorial voting. He will do all to block it, from stunning his critics with the cost (“Pay up P200 million first”) to having presidential spokesmen speak for him (“We preferred to sweep the entire slate but we didn’t”). A manual recount is forbidden. For, it not only will confirm the statistically dubious 60-30-10 percent outcomes of winners and losers in all regions. It could also expose that there were more votes than voters. The discrepancy of votes and voters is the reason why both the precinct counting and the official canvassing were never completed. No politician is questioning for fear perhaps of the powerful Comelec, critics say. To recall, Brillantes on Election Day, May 13, declared a low 65-percent voter turnout, 33.8 million of the 52 million registered voters. It was only a midterm balloting, he said. The next day the seven Comelec commissioners convened as the national board of canvassers. Sluggishly they started with the advanced overseas votes, since undisclosed kinks were delaying the transmissions of local results to the central server. Then suddenly on Thursday, May 16th, they proclaimed six senators, and on Friday the 17th three more. Read More


Philippines: Comelec mulls ballot images as recount basis | Sun Star

Election protests will soon be cheaper once the Commission on Elections (Comelec) decide to give losing candidates an option to use ballot images as basis for the recount. Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said this will be done by decrypting the image files from the compact flash cards. “This could save money for the protestant because he will only pay for the decryption and getting the (ballot) image,” he said. At present, the Comelec requires the presentation of contested ballots and ballot boxes in recount proceedings. Read More


Philippines: President Aquino signs amendments to overseas absentee voting law | Sun.Star

President Benigno Aquino III has signed into law a consolidated bill amending the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003, allowing more overseas Filipinos worldwide to cast their votes in Philippine elections. The Chief Executive signed last May 27 the Republic Act 10590 (An Act Amending Republic Act 9189, Entitled “An Act Providing for a System of Overseas Absentee Voting by Qualified Citizens of the Philippines Abroad, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes.”) The Act otherwise known as “The Overseas Voting Act of 2013″ is a consolidation of Senate Bill 3312 and House Bill 6542. The Senate and the House of Representatives passed the consolidated measure on February 5, 2013 and February 6, 2013, respectively. Read More


Philippines: Poll integrity questioned – CBCP Notes Large-Scale Vote-Buying, Disenfranchisement, Transmission Failures | Manila Bulletin

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma yesterday asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to seriously address questions raised regarding the conduct of the May 13 midterm polls. The Comelec should particularly explain why the second automated polls seemed to be “out of tune,” Palma said. He issued the call a day after the CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa) issued a statement questioning the last elections. On Tuesday, the Catholic Church’s social action arm said the May elections was a “mockery of our democracy” and the results were “questionable, citing the large-scale vote-buying, disenfranchisement of voters, malfunction of voting machines, corrupted compact flash cards, and transmission failures among others. “Nassa is not blind to the glaring discrepancies and election violations, the highly-suspicious interventions during the canvassing, and the possible manipulation of election results during the lull hours of transmission, canvassing and consolidation of votes,” the statement reads. “In principle, there are many valid points raised because a lot of people thought the elections were okay, but we all know that like in music it was out of tune, which puts into question so many things,” said Palma.

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