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Abas on hybrid polls: It’s up to Congress

/ 11:51 AM May 23, 2018

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sheriff Abas on Wednesday said he is leaving it up to Congress if the country would shift from automated elections to a hybrid voting system.

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At Commission on Appointment confirmation hearing, Abas was quizzed on the feasibility of conducting hybrid elections, which combines manual counting of votes and automated canvassing.

“Tests have failed, but if it is the wisdom of the Congress, we will submit to it,” Abas said.

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The hybrid system was considered as a “back up” method for the 2019 elections and it was suggested during the time of former Comelec chief Andres Bautista.

But Abas said the hybrid system was more expensive than the automated elections, which utilizes vote counting machines that automatically transmit votes to canvassing centers.

The Comelec chief said the hybrid would be more expensive, requiring at least P20- to P30-billion budget.

What’s wrong with manual?

Abas, who was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte in November last year, said the manual elections was more tedious.

“Maraming question regarding manual. Madugo po yung manual at maraming scandal. Talagang mahirap po yung manual [There is a lot of question regarding manual. It is very complicated and is susceptible to a lot of scandal. Manual really is very hard],” he said.

When asked about the conduct of the manual elections during the Barangay and SK elections, he said it went well.

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But the elections chief said the “success” in the conduct of manual barangay elections cannot be expected at a national level.

This is because the canvassing of votes stops at the barangay level, while for the national elections, transmission of votes goes to various levels.

“We reiterate na kapag automated, mas secured yung transmission ng result [that if we use automated, the transmission of results is more secured],” he said.

He maintained that there is no human intervention in an automated transmission of votes. /jpv

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TAGS: Abas, automated, Comelec, Elections, hybrid polls, manual count
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