Comelec signs agreements for Internet voting tests abroad

The Election Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOA) with two solution providers for live testing of Internet voting systems.

The tests, which are free for the Commission, will begin in July, Rowena Guanzon, commissioner in charge of out-of-country voting, said in a statement.

“This exploratory trial of using a mobile app for foreign voters is revolutionary, and the results will have a significant and valuable impact on how elections can be conducted in the future,” Guanzon said.

The polling body said the Internet voting tests were part of an exploratory study of Internet-based technologies for possible use in Internet voting.

Testing is the third phase of the implementation plan which will involve the actual test voting activity.

Participants include test voters who have previously indicated their intention and consented to participate in the mock election using the applications or platforms of the solution providers.

Registration for the tests will close on June 25 at 5 p.m.

The Vice Commissioner in charge of Overseas Voting, Antonio T. Kho, Jr. signed the agreement for the electorate.

Comelec Executive Director Bartolome Sinocruz, Jr. signed as witness to the agreement while Ryan Earl So of Indra Sistemas and Henry Tan Sim of Voatz signed as representatives of the solution providers.

Director Sonia Bea Wee-Lozada and Philip Luis Marin of the Overseas Voting Office (OFOV) were also present at the ceremony.

Due to a timing conflict, Comelec said Smartmatic will sign the agreement at a later date.

“We call on registered foreign voters who have an active and complete voter registration record to register and be a part of this important activity,” Wee-Lozada said.

Comelec has already completed the first and second phases of the Internet voting system in the last quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, respectively.

At the same time, Comelec said that it is also preparing for the fourth and final phase of the evaluation phase, which involves the post-election evaluation activity to document the observations of all stakeholders, the experience of users, feedback, comments, among others.

Comelec and the service providers will sign non-disclosure agreements prior to the actual testing.

According to Republic Law 9189 or the Foreign Voting Law, Comelec is authorized to explore Internet technologies for out-of-country voting.—LDF, GMA News

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