Comelec: New voter verification system to slow down voting time
MANILA, Philippines — Voting time in select areas in the upcoming May 2019 elections may take up to 10 minutes longer as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will be launching a new voter verification system that uses biometrics, Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said on Thursday.
Jimenez said the electoral body will launch the new Voter Registration Verification System (VRVS) in Manila, Quezon City, specific municipalities in Pangasinan, Cavite, Cebu Negros Occidental, Zambaoanga del Sur and Davao del Sur and all Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) provinces.
“Magkakaroon siya ng kaunting impact in terms of madadagdagan ng oras bago siya makakuha ng balota. Kaya nga ang ating voting time is 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. We hope that that will accommodate the additional delay,” Jimenez said in a press conference.
With the new VRVS, voters will have their identities verified using two ways: by fingerprint scanning or manually searching their names on the system by typing their names on the keyboard of the VRVS.
The VRVS would then print a receipt to confirm that the voter is registered in the system. The voter would then be given a ballot by the election board members.
However, Jimenez clarified that the delay in voting time is only expected during the pilot-testing of the machines, as it is expected to yield a quicker electoral process in its full implementation in the future.
“We expect that it’s only for the pilot test na makikita natin ito(ng delay). Kasi when we go into full implementation in the future, yun na lang ang prosesong gagamitin mo. It will be even quicker kasi yung search mo digital na. Hindi ka na magle-leaf through a book,” he said.
“We take a little bit of a hit here. We add a little bit of time to the overall pero again in anticipation of time savings later on,” Jimenez added.
The Comelec spokesperson said 35,000 units of the VRVS will be used in the May 2019 elections, with about 2,000 units held as contingency units.
“We felt it was a solution that was worth pursuing kasi isa sa mga perennial problems ng Comelec ay yung nawawala sa listahan, hindi maverify, may naggagamit ng ibang identity ng tao, at pangatlo yung flying voters. so the solution there was to assign biometrics,” he said.
“It was always the idea that in the future, when the technology allowed it, we would have biometrics upfront. So yun na yun live scanning na component. We started out by not using it at all except from just gathering the data to using it invisibly, now using it in the frontline. So may progression tayo ngayon, may evolution tayo that way,” Jimenez added. /muf
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