By William B. Depasupil | The Manila Times
THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has started consultative meetings with election system providers as part of preparations for the 2022 national and local polls.
The series of online consultations, sponsored by the Office for Overseas Voting, has attracted election system providers Dominion Voting Systems, Indra Sistemas, Smartmatic International and Voatz.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said on Tuesday Dominion Voting Systems was the first to make a presentation and will be followed by Indara on Wednesday, Smartmatic on Thursday and Voatz on Friday.
Jimenez said with the consultation, Comelec hopes to gather enough information on online voting that it can present to Congress for its budgetary consideration.
“If and when such a system is eventually put into action depends on Congress,” said Jimenez in a statement.
Also on Tuesday, the nine-member Comelec Advisory Council (CAC) was reconstituted ahead of the 2022 elections.
The CAC recommends the most appropriate, secure, and cost-effective technology for the automated election system or AES.
The de facto chairman of the CAC is the secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, with the members drawn from the academe, nongovernment electoral reform organizations, ICT professional organizations and select government agencies.
The Comelec said an estimated 62 to 63 million voters registered for the 2022 presidential elections, from only 61 million in 2019.
It includes 4 million potential new registrants and another 1 to 1.5 million voters who are expected to reactivate their registration.
“We also have roughly 1 million to 1.5 million potential reactivations. The reason for this is after every election, we do a round of deactivation of people who failed to vote twice,” Jimenez said.
Earlier, the Comelec asked Congress for a bigger budget for next year for the procurement of new vote-counting machines to address the expected increase in the number of voters in 2022.