Comelec seriously considering hybrid voting system for 2016 polls
The hybrid voting system has gained “equal footing” with all the other systems being considered by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the presidential balloting in 2016, despite its lackluster public demonstration over the weekend.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Election Commissioner Christian Robert Lim said the precinct automated tallying system (PATAS) was not just an alternative or a backup option for the election body in the conduct of the May 9 balloting.
“We have not identified which system is the primary and which one is the backup. What we are saying is that we are considering all possible options,” Lim told reporters.
When asked whether the hybrid system was already being considered “on equal footing” with the other automated election system the commission has been looking into, Lim replied, “Yes, I would suppose so.”
Also at the briefing, Comelec Chair Andres Bautista said the commission has been working to come up with a report on the hybrid system before July 9. “We are asked to submit the report to the House (of Representatives,” said Bautista.
He said the Comelec would deliberate on the feasibility of employing the hybrid system during the 2016 elections after the submission by various stakeholders of their reports, observations and opinions based on Saturday’s public demonstration.
Under the hybrid system, being pushed by former Election Commissioner Gus Lagman, the transmission and canvassing of ballots will be automated while voting and the counting will be done manually.
The Comelec conducted a simulated testing of the hybrid system on Saturday, holding two mock elections at the Bacoor National High School in Cavite.
But two hours after the voting ended, only 20 to 25 ballots, out of about 300, were counted. The public demonstration was hampered by a malfunctioning printer, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said.
The Comelec official denied that the procedure was a failure but admitted that since PATAS used a manual count, it could take as long as 24 hours to finish the counting.
On Saturday, Lagman, the main proponent of the hybrid system, estimated that the counting of ballots during the actual elections would last around 6 to 7 hours.
Aside from the hybrid system, the Comelec is also considering the reuse of the old precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines, if the refurbishment project would push through, or the use of new optical mark readers.
The Comelec declared on Tuesday a failure of bidding for the repair and refurbishment of the 81,000 PCOS machines but reversed a ruling on a previous bidding for the purchase of 23,000 OMRs, virtually making Smartmatic-Total Information Management the winner of the bidding for the project.
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