"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Friday, August 22, 2008

Shopping malls as voting centers

SHOPPING malls may become the polling precinct of the future and voters can cast their vote as easily as withdrawing cash from an automated teller machine.

Senator Richard Gordon said putting up satellite voting centers was plausible in the wake of the success of the automated elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Gordon, who was guest in a recent forum in Quezon City, said voters will no longer have to troop to the provinces in order to vote.

“In the future, one only has to go to the mall, find an automated polling machine and cast his or her vote. The idea is they can vote only once. If they do that in other machines, they will immediately be barred to vote again,” said Gordon, touted as the father of automated elections.

Gordon said he was confident the automated elections can be done in the next elections, noting its success despite the unstable security situation, inadequate communications and transportation infrastructure.

Gordon further noted that despite the lack of time for a massive voter education campaign on the new automated system, voters in Maguindanao generally described their voting experience as “easy and amazing.”

Vince Dizon, spokesman for Smartmatic-Sahi, the technology provider for the automated polls, said the success proved that the country is ready for full automation in 2010.

“It was Senator Gordon’s efforts in the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on election automation that pushed the Comelec to ensure automation of the ARMM elections. We owe it to him that we were able to successfully pilot-test the technologies in preparation for the 2010 national elections,” Dizon said.

“We will make sure that the Commission on Elections will give ample time for the training of voters in next elections,” Gordon said.

“If given a longer period of time training, definitely the voters will be more confident in using the machines,” Dizon said.

“With DRE machines, counting is done automatically and transmission can be done in minutes directly from the precincts. This is the wave of the future and the voters of Maguindanao have proven that we are ready for fast, clean and credible elections,” he added.

Shopping malls as voting centers
Joel M. Sy Egco
Manila Standard Today
Saturday - 23 August 2008


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