The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday said it has chosen the optical mark reader (OMR) system for the automated elections in 2010.
Comelec Chairman Jose Melo said they chose the OMR system because it has a paper trail and that it costs less compared to the Direct Recording Equipment (DRE).
The Comelec submitted a P11.3 billion budget for the OMR to Congress for approval, while the budget for the DRE, pegged at P21 billion, was later slashed to P13 billion.
The commission said that while automation cannot guarantee fraud-free elections, they said it could definitely help lessen cheating dramatically.
The Comelec said cheating would be lessened because ballot boxes won't be switched anymore since computers will be used to store data and the voting machines will also serve as counting machines.
The harrassment of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) will also be prevented, the commission said, because they will do everything in one place. They will not have to go from the polling stations to the municipal and provincial halls.
The ballots will also be placed in the machines to prevent switching, the commission said.
In a press conference where all commissioners were present, the Comelec also presented their proposals for the 2010 elections.
The proposals included early voting in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and possibly other areas, possibly two weeks prior to the main elections, and the extension of the voting period to 7 p.m., instead of the usual 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. -- With a report from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News