Bill seeking ‘manual-automation’ election system filed at House
MANILA, Philippines — Makabayan bloc lawmakers have filed a bill seeking to provide a hybrid election system in the country that would combine manual and automation processes to make the system more transparent.
In filing House Bill No. 8644, Makabayan lawmakers pointed out that purely manual elections are riddled with election fraud and the delay in proclamation results, while purely automated elections lack transparency, accountability and credibility.
They added that the lack of transparency in the election system makes it difficult to probe reports of alleged rampant electoral fraud such as tampering with source code, hacking, manipulating votes, and absence of scan and ultraviolet security.
To address these concerns, the lawmakers proposed in the measure that automation in the canvassing process be retained while a manual voting process in the precinct level will be instituted.
“The proposed bill aims to provide a solution to the problem: It will retain the speed of automation in the canvassing process where large scale fraud and delay normally takes place, but will institute a manual voting process in the precinct level to verify and validate the results of the automated canvassing process,” the lawmakers said.
Under the measure, the Philippine elections will not be conducted under a purely automated system controlled by a technology company, which will help cut the expenses of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Makabayan lawmakers explained that their proposed election system will only require computers with basic capacity to consolidate and transmit election results, which will only cost about 20% to 30% of what Comelec will spend to hire Smartmatic or any other technology company to conduct the elections.
“There is no need for the untransparent and complicated technology of Smartmatic since any attempt at hacking, or manipulating the results may now be countered and validated through actual voting results in the precincts and polling places,” they said.
“The Philippines can have a manual counting of votes to show the people that their votes have been counted, and an automated canvassing to ensure speedy canvassing of results, without incurring billions of pesos in Smartmatic PCOS machines,” they added.
The bill provides a procedure that combines manual voting in the precinct level and automated canvassing in the municipality, city, provincial and national level.
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