Inquirer.net : Comelec sees 52.01% turnout in internet voting test run among overseas Filipinos

News & Interviews
13 September 2021

By Daniza Fernandez | Inquirer.net

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) saw a 52.01-percent turnout in its internet voting test run among overseas Filipinos, the agency’s Office for Overseas Voting Director Sonia Bea Wee-Lozada shared Monday.

The test run was conducted from September 11 to 13 using the platform of technology provider Voatz.

Wee-Lozada explained that 669 test voters were qualified for the 48-hour pilot test. But, only 402 individuals of the eligible voters underwent the verification process.

“This 402 were verified test voters. Meaning, these voters were the ones who were able to successfully go through the voter verification process, downloaded the app, uploaded a copy of their identification document, and get the selfie camera,” Wee-Lozada mentioned during the closing ceremony of the Voatz Internet Voting Test Run.

Of those verified, only 348 or 52.01 percent actually voted.

“For someone who has looked at the historical figures for overseas voting in the Philippines, this looks promising because traditionally, we never go beyond 50 percent when it comes to voters actually voted for overseas voting,” Wee-Lozada said.

Moreover, the director enumerated the reports that they received in their support center: “invalid participant” error message, email with voting instructions found in Spam folder or needed to be searched for, took some time for verification status to reflect, non-acceptance of some identification (ID) cards, and passport or ID uploading issues.

On the other hand, Voatz co-founder and chief executive officer Nimit Sawhney noted that the system has detected a total of 487 threats during the voting simulation which were blocked.

“We essentially saw three kinds of threats to the system. They were network-based threats, they were device-focused threats, and then there were malware-related threats,” Sawhney said.

“We feel very confident about the detection and the sensing of these threats and making sure that no malicious hacker breaks into the system,” he added.