Poll watchdog proposes 5 innovations for #Halalan2022

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 31 2021 05:00 PM


MANILA — Poll watchdog National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) on Tuesday said they submitted to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) recommendations for a "transparent and efficient" conduct of the 2022 national and local elections.

In a press conference, Namfrel officials presented their 5-point proposal to the poll body.

• Allow use of an open source election software to allow more IT experts to conduct local source code review

• Allow end-to-end use of Election Markup Language (EML) as a single data format for proper integration of results and prevent delays and glitches in the transmission of results as what happened in the 2019 elections

• Reformat the ballots to assign unique random and sequential numbers to candidates to avoid undervoting and giving advantage to candidates based on surname in the case of an alphabetical listing

• Put QR codes on the election return and voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) in the case of random manual audit to help in the audit of election results
 
• Make electoral boards (EB) and Board of Canvassers (BOC) place their electronic signatures on the results, instead of signatures from the machines supplied 

According to Namfrel, these proposals have been submitted to Comelec as early as June.

"The five proposals that we have presented are due for resolution from the Comelec advisory council. We also presented it several times to the Comelec steering committee, at the same time, the Senate committee on suffrage and electoral reforms," said JR Contreras, member of the NAMFREL national council.

 VOTER REGISTRATION 

Amid calls from various groups to extend the voter registration period beyond Sept. 30, Namfrel said it "understands" Comelec, which already rejected the idea. 

"The reality is that we really just have to try first to fit all of our activities within around 30 days left. There are still a number of potential voters that have not registered yet. If Comelec can come up with a solution such as satellite registrations or alternative venues for registration, then we are open to it," said Namfrel secretary general Eric Alvia.

Akbayan party-list and Defend Jobs Philippines on Tuesday filed separate letter-petitions to Comelec seeking extension of the voter registration period. 

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