A lawmaker has batted for the conduct of hybrid elections in May 2019 through manual voting and counting at the precinct level, and automated transmission and canvassing of votes for the synchronized national, local and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao polls.
Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia said that since the Commission on Elections has already demonstrated its inability to implement the automation mandated by Republic Act 9369, otherwise known as ‘‘An Act Amending Republic Act No. 8436 which is An Act Authorizing The Commission On Elections To Use An Automated Election System in the May 11, 1998 National Or Local Elections And In Subsequent National And Local Electoral Exercises, then Congress needs to come up with a viable, cheaper, simpler and more acceptable alternative for the coming May 2019 polls.
“The alternative should be able to strike a balance between the acknowledged benefits of electronic technology and the time-honored familiarity and proven acceptability of manual elections. It should pass constitutional scrutiny and be at par with the hopes and the faith of the sovereign people who possess the sacred right to elect their leaders, said Garcia, in filing House Bill 313 or the proposed “Hybrid Election Act of 2016.
Garcia said Section 2 of R.A No. 9369 defines the automated election ‘‘as a system using appropriate technology which has been demonstrated in the voting, counting, consolidating, canvassing, and transmission of election results, and other electoral process.
“Unfortunately, the 2010, 2013 and 2016 ‘automated elections were illegal and constitutionally infirm electoral processes due to the refusal or failure of Comelec to comply with the provisions of RA 9369 for reasons known only to the Comelec and its partner, Smartmatic, she said.
Garcia said the Precinct Count Optical System (PCOS) used during the national and local elections, and the Vote Counting Machine used during the national, local and ARMM elections were mere counting and transmission machines, as opposed to the voting machine prescribed by R.A 9369, precisely to serve the purpose of the law automation from voting to canvassing.