MANILA—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) welcomed on Friday the positive review of a private think tank showing that the May 2016 National and Local Elections “was far better than the past two automated elections held in 2010 and 2013.”
“We are very pleased and we know that this conclusion is not just made by Stratbase. This conclusion was also made by Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), Carter Center…there’s a recently released Comelec Advisory Council report made up of experts from the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Education…international observers also validated this conclusion,” said Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista.
Bautista was interviewed at the sidelines of the presentation of the research paper of Dr. Francisco Magno, the Philippine Political Science Association, entitled “Technology, Democracy, and Elections in the Philippines” in Makati City on Friday morning.
“Having said that we don’t rest on our laurels and we try to continue to look for ways by which we can improve,” he added.
According to the study, its general assessment of the 2016 Philippine automated elections “is undeniably positive and was far better than the past two automated elections held in 2010 and 2013, nationwide surveys show that the electorate had more confidence in the election system.”
“While election stakeholders see the need to improve in some specific aspects of the election process such as the terms of the minimum system requirements stated in the AES Law, these do not detract from the credible and orderly conduct of the 2016 elections,” it said.
“The Automated Election System (AES) of the 2016 national and local polls is 99.9% accurate. This is according to the results of the Random Manual Audit of almost 700 clustered polling precincts representing various legislative districts nationwide,” the research paper added.
Likewise, it cited the immediate submission of the Random Manual Audit Committee, composed of the poll body, NAMFREL and Philippine Statistics Authority, of its audit to the Comelec en banc after months of careful testing.
On the other hand, the study recommended several ideas to help improve the election system in the country.
“The Comelec should explore ways to intensify current efforts and work alongside political parties and civil society organizations to fully utilize social media to reach the youth and encourage their participation in elections. It should capture and publicize data on youth participation in the elections through voter turnout rates,” it said.
The study added the poll body should also explore methods of online and postal registration and voting to facilitate participation by overseas Filipino citizens.
The poll body should consider alternative registration procedures for members of the indigenous community and persons with disabilities.
The research paper said Comelec should also consider appointing a 4th polling official in busier precincts to mitigate potential bottlenecks in polling places.