‘Send-to-all’ hybrid machines that are equipped with high-speed scanning capacity and at least 13-inch screens where voters will be able to verify if their votes have indeed been counted.
This, according to Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Garcia, is what he envisions and hopes will be approved for use in the 2025 elections to ensure better transparency and faster results.
Garcia said he was discussing the matter for the first time when he guested at the ‘MACHRA’s Balitaan sa Harbor View’ of the Manila City Hall Reporters’ Association (MACHRA), where he said that one of the special features of the machines that will be used is their big screen and that the results will be transmitted to concerned parties all at once and the same time.
“We will fully comply with the law. Kung ito yung VCM (vote counting machine) ng isang presinto, itong machine na ito pag nagpadala magpapadala sa City Hall kung saan kina-canvass (election results), magpapadala sa PPCRV, magpapadala sa citizens’ arm, sa KBP, sa majority party, sa minority party, sa Congress so send to all. Ngayon, kung isa dun magsalita na iba ang kanyang result, bahala siya sa buhay niya samantalang lahat, pare-parehas,” Garcia explained.
The Comelec chair said he came up with the idea which is the best way to ensure transparency, citing the importance of earning the trust of the electorate.
“Wala na kong makikitang mas matinding transparency than that. Paano makakasiguro na ang binoto namin ‘yan ang binilang ng machine? Pero me isa pa ‘yung laging tanong ng tao, ‘Paano kami nakakasigurado na ‘yung balotang hinulog nmain yan ang binilang ng machine? Oo me nakita kaming resibo pero ‘yung binilang, ‘yun ba ‘yun?”
Garcia said in order to satisfactorily address these questions commonly being rasised by the voters, he had come up with a way where voters themselves can verify if the ballots they filled out and entered into the machine have indeed been counted.
“Paano masisiguro ng botante na ‘yung hinulog niya nabilang? Diyan papasok yung ‘hybridized’ system. Hindi ko pabibilang ang balota manually dahil pag binilang mo ang 800 balota per precinct aabutin tayo ng apat na araw tapos i-autoumate mo pa,” he explained.
According to Garcia, there can be a hybrid system within a single machine, not the kind where machine was used after which the ballots will be counted manually and where the images of the ballots may be viewed front and back.
“Hindi hybrid na minachine mo tapos binilang mo isa-isa. ‘Yun ang purpose kung me screen na malaki, kung kaya 15-17 inches mas maganda,” Garcia added.
Under the system, Garcia said watchers may take pictures of the ballots and later on do their own counting but by that time, the machine must have already transmitted to avoid any delay in the canvassing.
The Comelec chair said the poll body is fast-tracking the terms of reference in the hope that by July, there will already be a procurement short of award, stressing that the priority will be to train, introduce or educate how the people will vote under the new system using the new machines.
“Kasi kung maganda nga ‘yung makina, kung hindi naman nauunawaan ng tao, hindi rin po sila basta makakaboto nang maayos. Trust will always begin with voters’ education and information” he added.