New voter registration confirmation system to delay voting, says Larrazabal

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 08 2019 07:47 PM

MANILA - A new voter registration confirmation system to be pilot-tested in several parts of the country on election day may cause delays in voting, a former Commission on Elections (Comelec) official said.

The new voter registration verification system (VRVS) adds an additional layer of confirmation for voters.

In areas where the VRVS will be implemented, voters would have to check their names in the Election Day Computerized Voters List (EDCVL), then undergo a process of verifying their biometric information.

"In areas where you use the VRVS, you go to the chairman, you tell them your name, then they check on the EDCVL if your name is not in the list of excluded voters," former Comelec commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal told ANC.

"If it's not, you go in front of the poll clerk, the second member, there's a tablet there and you put in your thumb, and it will read your fingerprint, the biometrics," he added.

It will only be after a voter's identity is confirmed that he or she gets the ballot and vote.

"When it reads your thumb mark, your fingerprint, ideally it will show your name, your picture. Once that happens, there's a confirmation that that's you, then you go back to the electoral board, then they give you your ballot," Larrazabal said.

If the system fails to identify a voter, then he or she has to go back to the EDCVL before they get a ballot.

"If your thumb, your fingerprint is not read, then you do a manual search in the system, and if you're not found there, you still go back to the EDCVL. Then if you're in the EDCVL, they give you the ballot," Larrazabal explained.

Larrazabal said Comelec had estimated that the new system may delay the voting process by up to 5 minutes per voter.

"This one, I believe Comelec made a statement that it can add up to a 5-minute delay per voter, if your fingerprint cannot be read, and you go to the EDCVL, that adds 5 minutes," he said.

"If there are 12 voters who cannot find their fingerprint and have to go to the EDCVL, that's one hour delay for 12 voters already," Larrazabal added.

Larrazabal said the new system will be implemented to weed out "flying voters," but it also allows voters to just check the EDCVL.

"Ideally, the VRVS prevents flying voters from coming in, kasi you have to use your thumb, etc., to read the fingerprint. The problem there is that the protocol allows for a manual override, so it defeats the purpose," he explained.

According to Larrazabal, the new system will be implemented in the following areas:

  • Manila 
  • Quezon City
  • Caloocan City
  • Pangasinan (including all cities)
  • Cavite (including all cities)
  • Cebu (including all cities)
  • Negros Occidental (including all cities)
  • Zamboanga del Sur (including all cities)
  • Davao del Sur (including all cities)
  • Iloilo (including all cities)
  • Nueva Ecija (including all cities)
  • Misamis Oriental (including all cities)

The VRVS will also be implemented in the Bangsomoro Automous Region in Muslim Mindanao, including Cotabato City and in Isabela City, Basilan.