Comelec signs deals with 2 voting solutions firms for overseas online voting test runs

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 23 2021 07:18 PM

Comelec signs deals with 2 voting solutions firms for overseas online voting test runs 1
COMELEC personnel hand out voter registration kits to residents during the “Walkah-walkah: A Voter Education Campaign” at the Brgy. Talipapa Market in Quezon City on February 26, 2021. The project aims to educate the general public on how to efficiently accomplish their forms and where to submit them for registration before the deadline on September 30, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday announced that it has signed agreements with voting solutions firms Indra Sistemas and Voatz, for the overseas online voting test runs.

In a statement, the poll body said the test runs on July “form part of [its] exploratory study of internet-based technologies for possible use in internet voting."

"This exploratory test use of a mobile app for overseas voters is groundbreaking, and the results will have a significant and valuable impact on how elections may be conducted in the future,” said Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, who is in-charge of overseas voting.

Commissioner Antonio Kho, Jr. signed the memoranda of agreement (MOA) for the Comelec, while Indra’s Ryan Earl So and Voatz’s Henry Tan Sim signed on behalf of their respective companies. 

Comelec executive director Bartolome Sinocruz signed as witness.

A separate signing of non-disclosure agreements (NDA) will take place prior to the actual test run.

A similar MOA and NDA will be inked with Smartmatic at a later date.

The conduct of test runs, which simulates the actual test voting activity, is the third phase of a comprehensive internet voting exploratory plan.

The first phase, which involved preparations, and the second phase, which involved presentations by the firms, were both completed in the last quarter of 2020 and first quarter of 2021, respectively.

The last phase, or the evaluation phase, will cover post-election assessments by participants and other stakeholders.

Participants who have pre-listed for the program will participate in a mock elections using the solutions firms’ applications or platforms.

Dominion Voting Systems, which did a demonstration of their voting solution, has backed out, while Scytl withdrew its intent to participate, according to Comelec. 

Republic Act No. 9189, also known as the Overseas Voting Act, authorizes the Comelec to explore internet-based technologies for purposes of overseas Filipino voting.

Congress has to pass an enabling law for overseas voting to be adopted in the country.

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