Manila Bulletin – Comelec looking at 3 options for automated election system to be used in May 2022 polls

By Leslie Ann Aquino | Manila Bulletin

At least three options are being looked into by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) as possible automated election system (AES) for the May 2022 polls.

In an interview, Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez revealed that they have proposed to legislators three types of budget: for the hybrid system, the use of current machines plus additional, and a whole new batch of machines.

Of the three, Jimenez said the hybrid system had the highest budget requirement.

The hybrid system, which was previously pushed by former poll commissioner Gus Lagman, is a combination of the manual voting and counting, and automated transmission and canvassing.

“We already gave a budget estimate as to how much it would cost. It looks like there is a budget implication especially the hybridization. The way they are describing it now with projectors and everything at the canvassing level,” said Jimenez.

“I do not have the exact figure. But I think it’s twice what we would normally pay for an elections. Twice or up to three times even,” he added.

But, Jimenez believes the high cost of adopting the hybrid system will not be a major hindrance for the legislators.

“Ultimately, whatever it costs is whatever democracy costs. It doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things,” said Jimenez.

“But if you are looking at budget purposes, it is really surprising that it would balloon to that level,” he added.

President Duterte earlier urged the poll body to dispose of the vote counting machines (VCMs) of Smartmatic and look for a new system that would be free of fraud.

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