Comelec vows to improve absentee voting for 2016 polls

The Philippine Star

Posted at Dec 13 2013 01:54 AM | Updated as of Dec 13 2013 09:54 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is working to improve overseas absentee voting (OAV) for the 2016 presidential polls.

Speaking to reporters, Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said a new system must be adopted to encourage Filipinos abroad to participate in national elections.

“Voter’s registration was increasing but the turnout is still low,” he said. “That is why we have a new law already. We have taken out the (word) absentee, it’s just overseas voting. We are creating a special office for overseas voters because everybody agrees there’s really a problem.”

The government must deal with the difficulty of many overseas Filipinos who have to go to Philippine embassies and other diplomatic posts to vote, he added.

Commissioner Lui Guia said they have started discussing various reforms in the system with the guidance of Republic Act 10590, the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2013.

The law allows the use of other technology to reach out to voters who cannot be contacted in the traditional mode under the old system, he added.

Guia said the Comelec is eyeing Internet voting, but that the security of the technology must first be ensured.

They are also looking at field voting where polling precincts would be set up in areas that Filipinos abroad frequent, he added.

The Comelec started discussing reforms with various stakeholders weeks ago, Guia said.

Academicians: Continue automation

Academicians that reviewed the May 2013 polls have urged the continued use of automated elections.

Julio Teehankee, De La Salle University (DLSU) College of Liberal Arts dean, said the Automated Election System (AES) provides more accountable and transparent polls.

Speaking at the forum “The Philippine Automated Elections: Gains and Remaining Issues” at DLSU in Manila, Teehankee said the random manual audit showed that the 2013 senatorial election yielded an accuracy of 99.97 percent. – Sheila Crisostomo, Rainier Allan Ronda