MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) unveiled on Wednesday a Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) Demonstration Center at the poll body’s main office in Intramuros, Manila to allow the public to learn about the process of automated voting.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. led the opening ceremony and ribbon cutting of the demo center that will be open Mondays to Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will be manned by trained lecturers to answer questions.
“The PCOS demo center was conceived as a means of ensuring that the general public would have easy access to information about the PCOS machines that will be used in the 2013 National and Local elections,” Brillantes said in a statement.
“This is an accommodation to the public; anybody can go in so they will see the actual process [of voting] … so they will know what to do come Election Day,” he told reporters during an interview.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said that before the demo center was established, most PCOS demonstrations were held in seminars or lectures in schools, which were not fully open to the general public.
“We think it is better that there is a way and a place for the public to see, whenever they want, how the PCOS works as well as to give the voters experience [with the automated process],” Jimenez told reporters.
The public will fill up test ballots and go through the actual process of voting, he said.
The demo center is open until a week before the elections. It will entertain walk-ins as well as groups as long as they set a schedule ahead of time to ensure they can be accommodated.
More than 23 PCOS demo centers will be established throughout the country.
Comelec-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) previously opened its own PCOS demonstration center in Baguio City last Monday.
“The PCOS demonstration center in Baguio, which will be operational from Mondays to Saturdays, will be staffed by three PCOS demonstrators who will conduct regular PCOS demonstrations for various members of the public, the media, and members of accredited citizens’ arms in the locality,” Jimenez said in a statement.
Jimenez urged “Baguio voters and the thousands of tourists who are expected to flock to the Summer Capital this Holy Week to drop by at the PCOS Demo Center to experience automated voting.”
The demo center in Baguio will be located in the Comelec compound on Governor Pack Road.
“Interested parties may contact the Comelec Education and Information Division through at 525-9294 and 527-5574 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a visit at the PCOS demo center,” Jimenez said.