Search on for new vote counting system | Inquirer News

Search on for new vote counting system

/ 05:44 AM May 05, 2023

File photo of the voting machines, used in the country since 2010, that the Commission on Elections wants to upgrade.

DUE FOR UPGRADE File photo of the voting machines, used in the country since 2010, that the Commission on Elections wants to upgrade. —INQUIRER PHOTO

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has begun the search for a new automated election system for the 2025 midterm polls even while waiting for Congress to approve its budget.

Officials of the poll body want to upgrade the voting machines by using a combination of the current optical mark reader (OMR) technology and direct recording electronic (DRE) or touch-screen capabilities.


“We have been using the OMR since [the shift to automated elections in] 2010. What we are looking for is a combination of OMR and DRE which is the touch-screen system,” Comelec Chair George Garcia said at a news conference on Thursday.


“We are asking around if such a system is available in the market, or if manufacturers want to come up with such a system,” he added.

Smartmatic has been the automated election system provider for the country since it started using voting machines in 2010.

‘Unusable’ VCMs

The Comelec earlier declared as “unusable” the around 100,000 vote counting machines (VCMs) from Smartmatic that had been used in four national elections since 2013, including last year’s presidential polls where numerous machines malfunctioned.

Based on the draft terms of reference released by Comelec, the new automated election system would have voters use a marking pen or a stamping pen to indicate their choice of candidates on the paper ballot.

Aside from issuing voters’ receipts, the voting machines should be able to quickly scan ballots and display their images on the screen to verify the votes obtained by the candidates, as well as display on the screen the votes going to each candidate.

Garcia said they plan to bundle into one contract all the requirements for the new automated election system, except transmission.


“This means that the one supplying the machines will provide the paper, stamps and other collaterals except for the transmission. We won’t bundle the transmission,” he added.

Garcia said the poll body was planning to hold the public bidding for the project by July and then award the contract by early next year.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

“We were blamed for the 1,600 voting machines that malfunctioned in the 2022 polls. That’s less than 1 percent of the 107,000 precincts. How much more if over half of the machines will malfunction in the 2025 elections? That is the worst-case scenario,” he told reporters.

TAGS: Comelec, Elections

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.