Poll body eyes ‘Internet voting’

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Sunday disclosed that it is pushing for the possible use of Internet for overseas voting to ensure that overseas voter turnout will be better in the next national elections.

Comelec chairperson George Garcia revealed that the previous overseas voting turnout was at 38.61 percent or 626,576 out of 1,622,982 registered overseas voters who cast their votes based on the Certificates of Canvass.

“There are so many Filipinos, it’s always only 20 percent, lately only 39 percent have voted… We spend a large amount of money,” Garcia said.

The Comelec chairperson suggested the use of Internet voting since many overseas voters were not able to send their ballots back via mail or in-person to their nearest Philippine Embassy or Consulate.

“They are not going to the Embassy or Consulate and then we send them a ballot by mail, but they never send it back. I think if we implement it, it’s better because Filipinos love to use the Internet, maybe even Internet voting we can study for our overseas Filipino workers,” Garcia said.

In September 2021, the poll body conducted a series of test runs on the use of Internet voting for overseas voters with the US-based firm, Voatz, Smartmatic, and Indra Sistemas.

Under Republic Act 9189 or the Overseas Voting Act, it authorizes Comelec to look on Internet-based technologies for overseas voting.

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