Automated voting planned for more Filipino overseas voters

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04:19 PM January 2nd, 2013

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By: Matikas Santos, January 2nd, 2013 04:19 PM

MANILA, Philippines—More Filipino overseas voters may soon be able to choose their candidates through automated machines as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) seeks to increase the number of countries where automated voting in the coming midterm elections will be implemented.

Comelec Commissioner Lucenito Tagle, chairman of the committee on overseas absentee voting (OAV), previously filed a recommendation to the Comelec en banc that the number of places where automated elections will be implemented be expanded to seven from last year’s two.

Hong Kong and Singapore are the two countries where automated elections took place in 2010. Tagle wants to add Abu Dhabi, Jeddah, Kuwait, Dubai, and Riyadh for the 2013 elections.

“In the May 10, 2010, Presidential Elections (Automated Elections System) was implemented in Hong Kong and Singapore garnering positive feedbacks,” Tagle said in his recommendation.

“As a matter of fact, these two posts were among the top three that had the most number of voters who cast their votes,” he said.

Hong Kong has 101,483 registered voters while Singapore had 36,323, Tagle said.

“We suggest that AES be adopted in [places] with more than 20,000 registered voters, have compact territories and that has implemented personal voting in 2010,” he said.

The five places that could be added to the list based on that criteria are: Abu Dhabi with 21,418 registered voters, Jeddah with 42,454 voters, Kuwait with 28,458 voters, Dubai with 30,513 voters, and Riyadh with 62,509 voters. Hong Kong and Singapore are also likely to implement AES again in 2013.

The implementation of AES in more places abroad will also require more Precint Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines, Tagle said.

“Depending on the availability of resources, we can either install one unit for every 5,000 registered voters for a total of 69 machines, or one unit for every 10,000 registered voters for a total of 37 machines,” he said.

When asked if the AES for these areas will be conducted on the same day as the elections in the country, Tagle said that it will likely be on the same day but they will still take into consideration that Filipinos working abroad might not be able to get off from their respective jobs.

He said that the transmission of the election returns in the area should be on the same day. He said they were able to do it in 2010 in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Tagle also called on all Filipinos abroad who want to vote to manifest their intent to vote before the deadline on January 11.

“They might have a legitimate reason why they failed to vote twice,” he said. Some 230,000 overseas absentee voters have failed to vote twice disqualifying them from voting again. They are required to file a manifestation to be allowed to vote again.

“Whereas, to ensure that the 238,557 Overseas Absentee Voters who failed to vote twice are given sufficient time and opportunity to file their manifestation of intent to vote and thereby be able to exercise their right of suffrage in the May 13, 2013, national and local elections, there is a need to extend the deadline of filing of the manifestation of intent to vote;” the Comelec said in a resolution that extended the deadline to Jan. 11.

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