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.
Pimentel believes that it would be best if the Comelec abandoned its plan to pilot-test the use of the touchscreen voting technology and instead use the PCOS machines in all voting areas. He noted that if the Comelec wanted to test the DRE system, it should be unofficial and the cost should be shouldered by suppliers.
The Comelec, upon recommendation of its Advisory Council, decided to pilot-test the DRE technology in Pateros. The council said the poll body can test one or more secondary voting technologies provided that these inter-operate with the canvassing system and give preference to Filipino-developed technologies.
The poll body plans to lease some 410 DRE for the testing, which will cost around P31.2 million. But there was only one bidder that expressed interest in the DRE contract.
Full Article: Comelec willing to shelve DRE | The Manila Times Online.