Philippine News Agency : Poll watchdog group supports online voting

15 September 2021

By Ferdinand Patinio | Philippine News Agency

MANILA – A Catholic Church-based elections watchdog group has expressed support on the use of an "accessible" internet voting technology in the country's national and local polls.

William Emmanuel Yu, Co-IT Director of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), said Wednesday they would like Filipinos to experience voting online, suggesting that such system should be introduced gradually by trying it first to other groups.

“We are very supportive in using new and modern technology to enhance the voting experience,” he said during his presentation at the kick-off ceremony of the internet voting test run of Smartmatic.

Yu is proposing a gradual rollout and adoption of internet voting.

“We want to build trust in the system, therefore we suggest a more gradual rollout and adoption of internet voting instead of trying to do it for a large base right away or for regular voting we may want to explore it for certain groups that benefit from internet voting directly,” he said.

He cited as example absentee voting for both local and overseas voters, saying the proposed system could be open to persons with disabilities and the "larger base" of senior citizens.

Since internet voting is accessible, he said voting can be done anytime, anywhere, adding that it is also safe because remote access to voting avoids a number of safety issues.

It also has its benefits in terms of costs, saying that the costs involved with traditional voting can be reduced.

“Citizens technically shoulder part of the cost of voting by using their work on devices and their own internet access; savings due to reduction in the use of mail and citizens do not have to travel long distances to vote for in-person overseas voting (absentee voting savings) and potentially decongest precincts and number of polling places to support (precinct voting savings),” Yu said.

Internet voting test run

The second internet voting test run by Smartmatic will be conducted starting Sept. 18 at 8 a.m. until 8 a.m. on Sept. 20.

Filipinos abroad will be participating in the 48-hour voting period to be done by service provider TIVI, a verifiable online voting system designed to allow eligible remote voters to cast their ballot securely from any place worldwide.

Last week, another technology service provider, Voatz initially held the test run of its internet voting system. Indra Sistemas will also be conducting a test run of its system this month. (PNA)