Comelec considers online voting for overseas Filipinos

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THE Philippines’ Commission on Elections (Comelec) is looking at the possibility of online voting for overseas Filipinos during the country’s May 2022 presidential polls.

The commission is planning to get potential information technology providers of online voting systems to showcase its technology, according to spokesman James Jimenez.

“Over the next few weeks, we’ll be fielding demonstrations from various potential providers. I think the round of presentation will start sometime next week,” he said Thursday, October 29, on Cignal TV’s OneNews.

Jimenez stressed that so far, the online voting is for overseas absentee voting (OAV) only.

Low turnout among overseas Filipinos is in part due to the inability to get to an assigned polling place.

There are currently two voting options for overseas Filipinos: postal voting, in which ballots are mailed to overseas voters who must return the ballot also by mail; or in-person voting, in which voters go to a Philippine Consulate or Embassy to cast votes manually or through voting machines.

Vote-counting machines (VCMs) will be used in the May 2022 national and local polls.
“We’re gonna use the machines that we used in 2016 and re-used in 2019,” said Jimenez.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III pointed out that the Comelec has a P14.21-billion budget for 2021 based on the national expenditure programs (NEP).

“It (budget) also includes the P14 billion for renting of vote-counting machines, for printing, distribution, for supplies for the 2022 elections. We allotted budget for that,” he said.

“Right now, I think the Comelec is considering a longer period for voting, they see two to three days so as not to have a problem with the pandemic if the pandemic is not contained at that time. And then probably they will require an additional P1 billion for salaries of teachers on election duty,” he added.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

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