MANILA — Voters in two villages in Dasmariñas, Cavite, and another barangay in Quezon City will cast their ballots for the October 30 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) via automated voting, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Monday.
The “pilot testing” of of two barangays in Dasmarinas, Cavite and another in Barangay Pasong Tamo, Quezon City will be observed, Comelec chairman George Garcia told Sen. Imee Marcos, chairperson of the Senate electoral reforms, in a hearing Monday.
The two areas were chosen because they have many clustered precincts, Garcia said.
“We cannot conduct automated election for the whole country for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan. We cannot procure the necessary documents for purpose of barangays and SK. We have 98,000 machines at present and we have to lease automated machines for automated BSKE,” Garcia told the panel.
Automated voting would mean finishing the casting of ballots between 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., with the results immediately available.
Manual elections, meantime, would need to have finished voting by 6 p.m., but the counting will only be concluded between 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Comelec chief said.
Garcia, however, clarified that while the three barangays will have automated elections, a manual counting of votes will still be held, with the SD card to be physically transported to the canvassing area.
Prior to the pilot testing, a dry run will also be conducted in the subject areas, Garcia said.
The Comelec is eyeing to hold the filing of Certificates of Candidacy from July 1 to 5, with the campaign period running for 10 days or from October 21 to 29.
ELECTION OFFICERS' SECURITY
Marcos meantime raised concern about the security of election officers, with the recent ambush of one Comelec personnel in Maguindanao.
With the elections approaching, Marcos said the Comelec Central Office should assign at least two security escorts for election officers, and the system must be “mandatory.”
“During the conduct of the 2022 elections, we provided two security escorts for all election officers in Maguindanao. However, there were those who refused,” Garcia said.
The refusal was brought by fears that their own escorts will be the ones tasked to kill them.
Another is the need to feed or support the needs of their escort while securing them, Garcia said.
“We will do everything to protect them (election officers),” Garcia told the panel.
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