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Comelec: No more multiple voters’ lists in 2016 polls

DAVAO CITY—Only the computer list of voters with biometrics data would be used to let voters into the polling precincts in next year’s presidential and local elections, discarding the manual list of voters that has been fraught with controversial list of dead and multiple-listed voters.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim of the committee on campaign finance told reporters here on Friday that this would be the first time that only a single list would be held by the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs), the three-person team in each polling center, unlike in previous elections when the BEIs would have two or three separate lists, made more confusing with the clustering of polling places. Lim said the yearlong registration of voters under the biometrics data-capturing has entered 9.6 million more voters into the new system, leaving only 3.8 million with no biometric data.

He said the remaining registrations that may involve several offsite-registration centers would attempt to capture 2 million more qualified voters into the system until the deadline of December 15 this year.

“We have to meet that deadline and it would be final because we have to catch up with the submission of the final list to the ERB [Electoral Registration Board] for their final hearings before the elections,” he said.

The ERB is a unit constituted in each city or town and composed of the election officer, the highest-ranking school division official and the chief of the civil registrar’s office. This unit meets only once in a quarter.

“Realistically speaking, it is now impossible to register all the remaining 3.8 million voters out there,” he said.

The country has about 54 million voters, going 2 million more if the Comelec reaches its target to get them into the system until the deadline.

Its request to acquire 23,000 more Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines was intended to spread out wider the polling centers, and reduce the number of clustered barangays or polling centers, from the average of 1,000 clustered centers, to as few as 600 clustered areas.

Lim said there were 81,896 PCOS machines in the inventory, and the Comelec has requested the government that these would be repaired and upgraded to synchronize with the capability of the newer machines that would be purchased. Or the government may have to purchase 71,000 new counting machines that have newer and speedier counting capability and improved security systems to boost the reliability of the output, he said.

“Either way, we would still proceed with the computerized election,” he said.

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