Comelec to ship vote counting machines abroad where overseas absentee voters could cast their votes

By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, Sept. 23 (PNA) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will provide mobile voting facilities for overseas absentee voters (OAV) to cast their votes in the May 2016 national and local polls.

Commissioner Arthur Lim, head of the Comelec – Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) said that they would bring the vote counting machines (VCMs) to areas abroad with large number of Filipinos.

“Presently, we have undertaken an improvement, which is we will be adopting mobile voting. Itong mga voting machines dadalhin natin sa agreed stations sa labas ng embassies para doon mas convenient sa ating mga OFWs pumunta at bumoto“,” he said in a press conference at the DFA Aseana Office in Paranaque City.

“We will conduct akyat barko voting, which is for the BEIs (Board of Election Inspectors) to bring the voting machines to certain designated ports, where the ships stay,” he added.

OFOV data show that there are already 1,197,756 registered overseas voters.

Lim said that they expect the voter turnout for the next presidential elections to reach 50 percent with the mobile voting system.

“Realistically, perhaps, I hope with fingers crossed, we will be able to reach the 40 percent and maybe 50 percent voter turnout,” the poll body official said.

With this, Lim said that they planned to conduct automated elections in 29 overseas Philippine posts, some of which would allow mobile voting system.

He added that the commission also expects a higher number of OAVs since the forthcoming polls is a presidential elections.

“Hopefully, we will also have a good voter turnout dahil presidential elections ito,” Lim said.

Comelec data showed that in the previous two presidential elections, the voter turnouts were tallied at 65 percent (2004), and 26 percent (2010).

On the other hand, the midterm elections registered lower voter turnout with 16 percent both for 2007 and 2013.

Meanwhile, Lim said the Comelec was already ruling out the use of internet voting in the 2016 elections, citing the absence of an explicit law allowing it.

Section 28 of the Republic Act 10590 states that, due to the peculiarities of the overseas voting process, the Commission may explore other more efficient, reliable, and secure modes or systems, such as internet-based technology, for onsite and remote registration and elections. (PNA)