The Manila Times - Comelec searching for new poll technology

News & Interviews
16 July 2019

By William Depasupil | The Manila Times

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) is scouting for a new technology that can be used to improve its automated election (AES) system in preparation for the 2022 presidential election.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said on Monday that Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas and other officials of the poll body had the chance to view the latest election technology at a recent AES technology fair.

“This is the kind of insight we need as we look forward to the elections of 2022,” Jimenez quoted Abas as saying. “It shows us solutions we have not seen before, and it shows us new strategies for using the technology we already have.”

The fair was organized by the Department of Information Communication Technology and the Comelec Advisory Council with the theme “One Citizen. One Vote. One Count.”

Several election technology providers joined the event, including Smartmatic Corp., Indra Sistemas S.A., mobile voting solutions provider Voatz and homegrown election system provider Boses.

Smartmatic is the supplier of Comelec’s more than 95,000 vote counting machines (VCMs), among other elections supplies, since it started automating the electoral system in 2010.

Indra Sistemas was Smartmatic’s bitter rival in the P7.8-billion contract for the supply of 70,977 units of optical mark reader counting machines for use in the 2016 presidential polls.

“The various exhibitors presented new technologies and new implementations of old technologies. All of these solutions show great promise, and the Comelec will be evaluating each one to see how well they meet the Philippines’ unique circumstances,” Jimenez said.

The midterm elections in May was marred by end-to-end problems, as VCMs and secured digital cards bogged.

With these problems in mind, Abbas said the Comelec was making plans to ensure that these issues would not be repeated.

“We are looking at using the VCMs again or rent new machines or bundle anew to synchronize everything,” Abbas said.