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Voters without biometrics can still vote - Comelec

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 17:17:00 10/28/2009

Filed Under: Technology (general), Eleksyon 2010, Elections

MANILA, Philippines - Registered voters who have not enrolled their biometrics data can still vote in next year?s elections, a Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesman said on Wednesday.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez clarified misconceptions on the ?biometrics requirement? and added the poll body discontinued for the meantime the enrollment of biometrics of registered voters so Comelec officers can prioritize the registration of voters until October 31.

?Registered voters who haven?t had their biometrics captured need not panic. They can still vote in 2010 as long as their names are in the computerized voters' list (CVL),? said Jimenez.

The purpose of biometrics data, consisting of digital fingerprints, photo and signature, is for the cleansing of the CVL using unique multiple fingerprint voter data, generation of voters ID and setup of a database that will identify voters using any of their biometrics information in future elections.

?Capturing biometrics during voter?s registration was only initiated in 2004 so we expect our old-time voters not to have their biometrics yet. The agency plans to process all voter?s information in a data bank so in future elections, biometrics can be used to identify a voter. But for now, we are focused on the registration and we will announce later when we will resume the capturing of biometrics,? said Jimenez.

Since the capturing of voters biometrics in 2004, about 21.27 million IDs have been released or half of the total 45 million registered voters in 2007; the other half of 45 million have no biometrics records yet or have enrolled their biometrics but were corrupted during transport of data to Comelec, said Jimenez.

?We want to clarify with our voters that the voters ID, which is generated using biometrics data, is not a requirement to vote. However, in the future we plan to use biometrics to cleanse our voters' list and rid it of multiple registration records,? said Jimenez.

On October, Comelec awarded a P1.6 billion CVL cleansing project using biometrics to Unison, a joint venture composed of Unison Computer Systems, NEC Philippines and Lamco Paper Products.

The project covers the provision of automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS) to detect multiple records in the CVL using biometrics and an additional 2,000 data capturing machines to be deployed in election offices to augment the 600 units available nationwide.

For the 2010 elections, Comelec will deploy 80,000 precinct count optical (PCOS) machines to automate the voting, counting, transmission and consolidation of votes.

Meanwhile, the Comelec also launched a new website http://ehope2010.ph meant exclusively to provide voters a forum where they can pose their questions?and get answers from poll officials?about the automated elections system to be implemented nationwide for the first time in May.

Jimenez said they hope that through the website, they will be able to answer all queries about automated elections. Newly appointed Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said he will personally answer some questions. With Donna Pazzibugan, PDI



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