(The Philippine Star)
MANILA, Philippines – Nine in 10 Filipinos do not want to go back to manual elections, according to a survey conducted last month by Pulse Asia Research Inc.
In a press briefing organized by Democracy Watch, Pulse Research director Ana Maria Tabunda said 88 percent of 1,200 respondents covered by the survey said they were looking forward to automated election system (AES) in future polls.
Tabunda said 92 percent of the respondents from the Visayas and Mindanao favored the AES while 85 percent in Luzon approved of it.
The survey showed that six and five percent of the respondents in the Visayas and Mindanao, respectively registered a disapproval for AES.
Respondents in the National Capital Region and Luzon posted disapproval ratings of 12 and 11 percent, respectively.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista gave the assurance to improve the AES for the May 2019 polls.
Bautista could not yet ascertain which voting system would be used in next elections.
In the 2010 and 2013 polls, the Comelec used the precinct count optical scan machines. In the last May elections, the vote counting machines were utilized.
“Nothing is cast in stone yet as far as what system we will be using in 2019. But surveys like this will help us make informed judgments,” he added.
Aside from choosing the best AES, Bautista said he wants the Comelec to prepare early, particularly the bidding process.
“We should start early. There should be an earlier consultation with stakeholders,” he said.
Meanwhile, the poll body described as a “blessing in disguise” the use of voter receipts in the last May elections, although it initially opposed it.
“It enhanced voting experience. I think the voter receipt is here to stay, but we should also improve it,” Bautista said.
The Comelec chief said voters were happy and pleased that they were able to validate their votes immediately through the receipt.
The poll body was apprehensive to activate the validation capability of the vote counting machines (VCM), but the Supreme Court ordered it to do so days before the May 9 elections.
The receipts contain the names of candidates that the voters pick, enabling them to check if the VCM counted their votes correctly.
Bautista had claimed the issue was “not the receipt per se,” but the preparation time.
“We were worried the receipt would be used not only for vote buying, but that it might result in confusion,” he added.
Bautista said they were concerned that the people would question the credibility of the elections due to the use of the receipt.
Originally posted on The Philippine Star