MANILA- The Commission on Election (Comelec) opened Wednesday the bidding for P1.16 billion worth of new voter verification machines that will be partially used during the May 2019 elections.
The new machines will be used to automate voter verification on election day by using fingerprint matching technology, which will eliminate manual verification of voters using a voters' list, Comelec said.
“There will be no more discretion as to the identity of voters..." said Comelec Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBC) Chairperson Thaddeus Hernan.
The poll body needs at least 32,067 machines for its initial voter registration verification project.
Comelec seeks to procure machines with a screen display of at least 8 inches, battery power that can last for up to 14 hours, a third power source, a fingerprint scanner, a printer, and a storage data.
Megadata Corporation, Nextix Incorporated and Gemalto PH, Dermalog, and SMMT-TIM 2016 Incorporated in a joint venture with the controversial Smartmatic International Holdings, have submitted their bids for the project.
Smartmatic, which supplied vote-counting machines used in the 2016 polls, faced criticism after the controversial alteration of the script of the Transparency Server of the Automated Election System during the elections.
“Smartmatic has been known to be a provider of our technology for several elections already, and considering they are not blacklisted or there are no proceedings blacklisting them, they are still eligible to participate,” Hernan said.
The new machines will only be used in select areas for the 2019 polls.
“It will be on a pilot testing. We will distribute them in big cities and high urbanized areas,” Hernan said.
Only 32,067 machines are being purchased at the moment which are not enough to cover the 92,000 clustered precincts nationwide.