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Mixed automated polls in 2016

Comelec to use PCOS plus a second, compatible technology

Is the mixed automated election system (AES) the answer to the nagging poll fraud allegations that are always associated with every poll exercise?

This will be known when the Commission on Elections (Comelec) starts using the mixed election technology in the 2016 national elections.

The use of the mixed AES in 2016 was revealed yesterday by a very reliable source, who said that the Comelec en banc has already decided that voters will be using the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines and a second voting technology in 2016.

The decision, the source said, is expected to be formalized today, Tuesday.

The Comelec Advisory Council (CAC) had earlier recommended to the poll body the use of multiple or mixed technologies for the 2016 polls.

Among the technologies the CAC recommended are the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) system and the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) as secondary technology. It also recommended Internet voting for Filipinos overseas.

“In principle, it has been decided to use the mixed technology. It is not a total adoption but we are basically following the CAC recommendation, although there will be some modifications,” a Comelec source said in an interview.

“We will still use the PCOS but we will also look for a second technology that will be acquired through public bidding,” the source added.

Asked why the CAC recommended the use of mixed technology, Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez could not provide a categorical answer. He said that the advisory council probably recommended the re-use of PCOS because the voters are already familiar with it, while allowing a second technology will open the AES to other technological systems.

“Since they are already familiar with the PCOS, the voter education requirement is minimal,” he said.

According to the poll insider, the second technology should be compatible with the PCOS machines.

During the May, 2013, midterm elections, the Comelec acquired 80,000 PCOS units from Smartmatic International for P1.8 billion.