The Manila Times : Three firms vie for electronic voting services contract – Comelec

12 June 2021

By William Depasupil | The Manila Times

Electronic voting systems provider Smartmatic Corp. and two other firms have expressed intention to provide the applications for the online voting system the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is eyeing for use in future elections.

Philip Luis Marin of the Comelec's Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) said on Friday Smartmatic, Indra Sistemas and Voatz offered their respective mobile voting solutions technology for testing.

"They have offered [their technologies] to be tested for free for 1,000 voters [next month]," Marin said.

The target users of the system, he said, would be voters in far-flung areas and seafarers.

Marin pointed out, however, that the online system of voting, if approved, could not be used anymore in next year's polls because of lack of material time.

He stressed if ever it would be approved by the Comelec en banc, the system would be subjected to further scrutiny and testing by poll watchdogs and other election stakeholders to ensure it is secured and safe.

Marin said a total of 1,423,941 qualified overseas voters have registered as of May 19.

Around 1.6 million migrant Filipinos have yet to register for the 2022 national and local polls.

"The target upon consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs to register is about 1.6 million or more if possible," he added.

The number of registered overseas voters, he said, does not include multiple registrants and so-called ghost voters, saying the list has already been "cleaned" through the use of a fingerprinting technology system.

According to Martin, an estimated 580,212 overseas registered voters are expected to cast their votes in the 2022 polls but the number is likely to go higher after the end of the registration period on September 30.

Comelec figures showed the number of overseas registered voters has been increasing since 2004.

In 2016 there were 1.376 million registered Filipinos while in 2019, there were 1.822 million voters abroad.

But the data showed while 31 percent of the total registered voters abroad cast their votes during the 2016 presidential elections, only 18.46 percent voted in the 2019 midterm election.

Overseas voters are only allowed to vote for president, vice president, 12 senators and one party-list group.

Registration for overseas voting started on Dec.16, 2019 and will end on Sept. 30, 2021.