Comelec eyes fingerprint voter verification in 2019 elections

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 29 2018 01:10 AM

MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday said it will employ a new measure to combat flying voters.

It is set to pilot test machines that automate voter verification in the May 2019 midterm elections.

On Election Day, voters in selected precincts will have to scan their finger through the Voter Registration Verification System or VRVS machine before getting a ballot. Once the system detects that a fingerprint has been previously scanned, it locks them out.

“Imbes na hihingan siya (botante) ng ID, kailagan niya lang ilapat ang kanyang daliri doon sa finger print scanner. And then scanner will say kung siya ay registered voter sa presinto na ‘yun," Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said.

"‘Pag nagpositive yung resulta, bibigyan siya ng balota. Pag hindi, then hindi siya registered voter sa lugar na yun. This is a step forward in our fight against flying voters. And we hope to see good results from this. If the results are good, the idea is to expand the use in other places,” he added.

The Comelec plans to deploy 32,067 voter verification machines in selected precincts on May. It has approved a budget of P1.16 billion for the project.

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.

Jimenez assured the public that part of the contract will be full compliance with the data privacy law.