Business Mirror – ‘Hybrid’ AES among 3 poll options

By Samuel P. Medenilla | Business Mirror

A NEW “hybrid” automated election system (AES) is now among the options of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the 2022 polls.

In an interview, Comelec Spokesman James B. Jimenez said this was among the three budget options which they submitted to Congress for consideration in the passage of the 2020 budget.

He said the three options include using a hybrid system; using the current voting machines plus buying additional of such units; and buying a whole new batch of machines to replace those being used by Comelec.

Among the budget proposals, Jimenez said the hybrid system is the most expensive.

“I don’t have the exact figure, but I think it is twice or up to three times of what we would normally pay for an election,” Jimenez said.

Under the hybrid AES, which is being pushing by former Comelec commissioner and now-National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections Chairman Gus Lagman, only the canvassing of election results will be electronically done, while the voting and counting will be conducted manually.

Jimenez said this system will be more costly for Comelec since it will entail the acquisition of new equipment, including projectors for the canvassing phase.

Despite the hefty price tag for a hybrid AES, the poll official said lawmakers will still consider it due to its cited advantage of being more transparent.

“I don’t think that is going to be a major hindrance for the legislators if they really want to go to a certain path that is doable,” Jimenez said.

He said they will leave it up to Congress to decide which of their three proposal will be implemented come 2020.

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