MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) reported a 52% voter turnout during the internet voting pilot test run for overseas Filipinos.
In a press briefing, Comelec – Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) Director Sonia Bea Wee-Lozada said 669 test voters were qualified for the 2-day pilot test. However, only 402 individuals of the eligible voters underwent the verification process. Of the 402, only 348 or 52.01% actually voted.
“This 402 were verified test voters. Meaning, these voters were the ones who were able to successfully go through the voter verification process, downloaded the app, uploaded a copy of their identification document, and get the selfie camera,” Lozada said.
She added that the poll body is currently assessing the outcome of the test run.
“We will still have to go over the feedback the other from the test voters as well as the audit portion which we will plan after this session. We will plan to look into the auditability of the system and we also encouraged test voters to confirm and used the confirmation ID that they’ve received,” she said.
Based on the initial assessment, Lozada said that the process of internet voting, based on the test run, was efficient.
“I think it is efficient in the sense that it did not take off the time as compared to how you would do voting traditionally. Like if you would do it like we are doing the Philippines which in-person system you have to wake early beat the line, falling in line, travel early to your polling center, line up,” she said.
She said the turnout is promising since OFOV has never reached 50 percent turnout during the actual polls.
“This is for me, for someone who has looked at the historical figures for overseas voting in the Philippines, this looks promising because traditionally, we never go beyond 50 percent when it comes to voters actually voted for overseas voting,” she said.
American firm Voatz, Inc. reported that there were several problems encountered during the voting process, including connectivity problems, SMS not received/delayed, voting instructions going to the spam folder, or some ID types not accepted.
“The number one support request was related voters were unable to upload pictures of their voter ID and a selfie. Some people were having delays because of the slowness of their network or their devices, so they keep trying and eventually succeed,” said Nimit Sawhney
CEO and Co-Founder of Voatz, Inc.
Comelec said that it will conduct another internet voting test run with another service provider on Wednesday (Sept. 15). The results will be submitted to Congress which will be used in drafting laws for the next elections. –AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)