Business Mirror – Smartmatic signals intent to bid for supply of new voting machines in 2022

By Samuel P. Medenilla | Business Mirror

SMARTMATIC International has renewed its bid to supply the new voting machines to be used by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the 2022 polls.

Comelec Spokesman James B. Jimenez said Smartmatic was among the at least four elections solutions exhibitors in the recent Automated Election System (AES) Technology Fair organized by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Comelec Advisory Council.

“They presented the VCM [vote- counting machines], with some functionalities which were not used in the 2016 and 2019 elections,” Jimenez said.

Smartmatic also a presented a direct recording (DRE) machine solution as well as an Internet voting solution.

Smartmatic has been the official vote-counting machine supplier of Comelec since 2010 polls, when the Philippines first resorted to automated elections.

It was the supplier of the over 97,000 VCM used by the poll body in the May 2019 polls.

Smartmatic’s involvement in the country’s elections has drawn opposition from poll watchdogs worried by its alleged lapses and irregularities in its services.

Aside from the previous Comelec supplier, Jimenez said other exhibitors in the AES technology fair were BOSES, a homegrown election system; VOATZ, a mobile voting solutions provider; and Indra Sistemas.

During the event, he said the following groups also had booths to showcase their products: transparentelections.org featuring its hybrid process; and the DICT itself with its One Citizen, One Vote AES Prototype Concept.

Comelec said in May it is now considering replacing its existing VCM for the 2022 polls since the said units are now becoming more prone to malfunctions.

Comelec Chairman Sheriff M. Abas said the conduct of the AES technology fair allowed them to connect with more suppliers.

“The technology fair gives the Commission on Elections the opportunity to see what is available out there, in terms of modern election solutions. It shows us solutions we have not seen before, and it shows us new strategies for using the technology we already have,” Abas said.

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