Business Mirror : Comelec to use digital signatures in transmitting 2022 poll results

News & Interviews
16 May 2021

By SAMUEL P. MEDENILLA | Business Mirror

THE Commission on Elections will finally start using digital signatures for transmission of election results along with its other security measures during the 2022 National and Local polls.

Comelec Commissioner Marlon S. Casquejo said the measure will allow the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) to include their “digital signature” once they start sending election results.

“This is to make sure that what are being transmitted from VCMS (vote counting machines) in the voting center, will be the election returns to be transmitted to canvassing center,” Caquejo said in an online press conference last Friday.

DICT capability

THE head of the Comelec steering committee for the 2022 elections noted this is the first time they will be using the scheme since the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) already has the capability to implement it.

“We wanted to implement this in 2016 or 2019. DICT was not yet capable of doing digital signatures,” the poll official said. “If we hire a third party to do that, we will spend more than half billion for that.”

Election watchdogs have raised the lack of digital signatures in past election since such is mandated Republic Act (RA) 8436 or the Poll Automation Law.

Casquejo pointed out that their use of “digital signature in each VCM was already deemed sufficient by the Supreme Court for Comelec to comply with RA 8436.

However, to make the election results more credible, they opted to also implement the digital signatures of the BEI.

Election receipts transmission
ASIDE from digital signatures, Casquejo they will now also enable the transmission of election receipts to the transparency server and canvassing centers so these could be monitored and tallied by the public.

“So in the transparency server, the media entities or any poll watchdogs can do their own quick count or audit using the voter receipts. That is to be more transparent in the results of the elections; the Comelec decided to include that in the transmission of the results, aside from the election returns,” Casquejo said.

In previous polls, the election receipts, containing the choices of voters, were printed on thermal paper and only available in voting centers.