Comelec checks out ‘Tapat’ voting system
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday tried out another voting system being pushed by poll watchdogs and information technology experts despite earlier indicating that it had no more time to “experiment” with new voting schemes for the May 2016 elections.
Comelec Chair Andres Bautista, Commissioner Rowena Guanzon and spokesperson James Jimenez were among those who tested the lotto-style voting system called “Tapat” in a demonstration sponsored by Filipino IT for Elections and AES Watch at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in Intramuros on Monday.
It took Bautista less than five minutes to cast his vote by shading boxes with a red marker on a ballot that looked like a lotto card.
But he expressed apprehension when the machine printed out a voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT), which he said could tempt people to sell their votes.
This was the main reason this feature was disabled on the precinct count optical scan machines, Bautista said.
“This will be the best way to collect money if you want to sell your vote,” he told a member of the board of election inspectors (BEI) manning the machine.
But the BEI said voters would not be allowed to take the VVPAT home, but will have to drop it in a slot in the machine together with the original ballot.
For her part, Guanzon said she was satisfied with “Tapat” but urged its proponents to conduct a time and motion study on about 100 voters to test the speed of the system.
“So far, I am satisfied that my vote was transparent and it was fast enough for me. But I want to see how slow or fast it will be if there will be 100 people in line,” Guanzon told reporters.
The “lotto-style” vote-counting system, developed by father and son software developers Arnold and Angelo Villasanta, uses shorter ballots that are read by a machine—basically a tablet—and displays the results so it could be verified if the votes were counted correctly.
In a press conference on Monday, AES Watch spokesman Nelson Celis said “Tapat” showed there was no need for the election system to be “hijacked” by foreign suppliers.
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