February 27, 2009

Phillippine Leadership Searches For Right Voting Option

POLL OFFICIALS in the Phillippines yesterday warned that the hybrid automation system backed by the House of Representatives would cost the country P5 billion more in the 2010 elections, yet would still be prone to cheating.

Testifying before the Senate finance committee, Commission on Elections Chairman Jose Melo said the House passed the P11.3-billion supplemental budget for poll automation, but made its release conditional on the passage of a new law governing the 2010 elections.

Melo said most congressmen favored a hybrid system in which only the election of national officials—the president, vice president and senators—would be automated. That would leave the election of local officials, including congressmen, under a manual voting system.

But Melo said such a system would actually incur more costs, such as those needed for separate ballot boxes for the automated and manual systems. The manual system of voting and counting that the House favors for local officials would still be susceptible to cheating, he said.

But Senator Richard Gordon, principal author of the Automated Elections Law, said the manual process was not allowed. In fact, he said, the law prescribes full automation for both national and local polls in 2010.

Note - Senator Richard Gordon visited San Mateo County Elections in 2008.

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