The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday said it expects better transparency in the 2025 automated elections as the poll body gives details of the planned lease for new vote counting machines (VCMs).
Comelec Chairperson George Garcia said that they are eyeing to lease VCMs equipped with a new feature which can confirm if the votes cast were really counted by the machine for the 2025 elections.
“The machine should not only count the vote. Iyong resibo, which is the VVPAT, may not be enough. Iyong resibo, makikita mo iyon ang binoto mo, pero iyon ba ang kinount ng machine? We can ensure transparency by counting electronically and counting manually. Iyon ang gusto naming machine combination. Maybe the receipt can have a QR code which can be scanned and then we post the result if the votes were already counted,” Garcia said.
(As it is, the receipt is not enough. It shows the people you voted for, but was your vote counted by the machine?)
VVPAT stands for voter verifiable paper audit trail.
Garcia said the poll body will release their proposed terms of reference for the initiative in the next two weeks and ask for input from stakeholders and election watchdogs.
“As far as the Comelec is concerned, we should not procure machines, even if it is cheaper. We will do away with 98,000 VCMs, and we will change the system by 2025,” said Garcia.
The Comelec chair also said that the new machines will likely enable an automated barangay and SK elections in 2026.
“We will be able to use these machines for 2025 and we will have automated barangay and SK elections in 2026,” Garcia added. —VAL, GMA Integrated News