THE Commission on Elections insisted on Wednesday it will not activate the voter receipt printing feature of the vote-counting machines (VCMs) to be used in the May 9 election, but may allow voters to view their votes onscreen.
Comelec chairman Andres Bautista said the poll body decided with finality that they will not consider activating the tape receipt features because it will take up too much time and the issue of vote buying in the Philippine setting is very unique.
“The problem really is the fact that we are electing over 18,000 positions, synchronized national and local, [and] we will have to make anywhere from 25 to 35 marks per voter. And we have to do these all in one day. That is what makes it difficult,” Bautista said.
“And we have to take into account that the issue of vote buying is unique to the Philippine setting, and therefore we need to take this into account,” he added.
He also rejected the suggestion of Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Automated Election System chairman Senator Aquilino Pimentel III to extend the voting period from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“But even if we do that, we still can’t do it,” he said, adding activating the feature might require days of voting.
Bautista, however, said that they are looking into the possibility of activating the tape receipt feature during the election period for overseas absentee voters.
“We are talking about the possibility of allowing receipts to be given to overseas voters. Why? Because they’re given 30 days to vote. And there are fewer voters. So there is time,” he added.
But Bautista also said the Comelec is considering activating the on-screen verification features of the machine and the poll body will soon release a resolution pending time-and-motion studies on how long it will take for one voter to review his votes.
“But the problem with having a screen is the time and the privacy. People are able to see [the ballot cast],” he earlier said.
“Now, there appears to be a more positive inclination,” Bautista said, adding that the commission will soon release a resolution.