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Filipinos to Utilize Comelec’s New Voting Machines in 2025

New Voting Machines
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is retiring Smartmatic’s decade-old vote-counting machines that Filipinos have used since the 2016 elections, and will be replacing them with new equipment from Korean firm Miru Systems for the 2025 midterms.

The first batch of machines has arrived in the Philippines, and while they will still be subject to customization, the poll body has kicked off a voter education campaign to demonstrate how to use such automated counting machines (ACMs).

Here are the…

Key Features of the New Voting Machines

The Philippines’ Commission on Elections (Comelec) is poised for a transformative update in its electoral process with the introduction of advanced voting technology from Miru Systems for the 2025 midterm elections. These new machines bring a host of innovative features designed to streamline voting procedures and enhance the integrity of the electoral process.

Two Systems in One Machine, Including a Touch-Screen Feature

Miru’s automated counting machines feature the standard optical mark recognition (OMR) technology for reading ballot marks. In addition to OMR, Miru’s machines are equipped with direct recording electronic (DRE) technology, allowing voters to cast their ballots via a touch-screen interface without physically marking a paper ballot. The touch-screen feature will only enable overseas voting in select countries due to logistical considerations in local precincts.

Faster Feeding of Ballots

Miru’s ACMs can process ballot papers at a rate of 220 millimeters per second, compared to the 70 millimeters per second of Smartmatic’s previous machines. This enhancement aims to expedite the voting process and reduce waiting times at polling stations.

Thinner Papers

For the 2025 elections, the ballot papers will be 90 grams per square meter (GSM) in thickness, down from 162 GSM used previously. This change addresses past issues with ballot paper thickness and ink bleeding, ensuring clearer and more reliable ballots.

Summary of Votes, Notification to Complete Vote

After feeding their ballot into the machine, voters will see a summary of the candidates they have selected on a wider, tilted screen with secrecy panels. The machine prompts voters to review their choices before finalizing their vote by pressing “cast” on the screen. If voters inadvertently undervote, they have the option to retrieve their ballot to complete any missed selections.

QR Codes on Voter Receipts, Built-In Camera Scanner

Voter receipts will now feature QR codes that can be scanned by the machine’s built-in camera. Election workers and observers can use these QR codes after polls close to verify if the electronic results match the physical ballots. Voters are prohibited from photographing these QR codes to maintain the integrity of the process.

Built-In Ballot Box

Miru’s machines include a built-in receptacle where voters should insert their receipts after voting, replacing the traditional ballot boxes used in previous elections. This feature aims to streamline the collection and storage of voter receipts securely within the machine.

Additionally, the Comelec has invested P17.9 billion to lease 110,000 new machines from Miru, along with canvassing laptops, printers, and other necessary supplies. This leasing approach ensures cost-efficiency and flexibility in adapting to future technological advancements without the burden of ownership.

In conclusion, Miru Systems’ new voting machines signify a major upgrade for the Philippines’ electoral system, ensuring enhanced efficiency, security, and accuracy. Comelec’s modernization efforts promise a more reliable voting experience, crucial for fostering trust in democratic practices.

 

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Significance of New Voting Machines

The introduction of new voting machines for the 2025 midterm elections in the Philippines holds significant importance for several reasons:

Enhanced Efficiency

  • Faster Processing: The new machines can process ballots at a rate of 200 millimeters per second, compared to the previous 20 millimeters per second. This increased speed will reduce waiting times and expedite the overall voting process.

Improved Accuracy and Security

  • Dual Voting Systems: The inclusion of both optical mark recognition and touch-screen voting options (for overseas voters) ensures that votes are accurately recorded and counted, minimizing errors.
  • Thinner Ballots: Using thinner papers that do not bleed through ensures clearer and more reliable ballot markings.

Voter Confidence and Transparency

  • Vote Summary and Confirmation: The screen allows voters to review their selections before finalizing their vote, ensuring accurate recording of their choices.
  • QR Codes and Camera Scanner: Voter receipts with QR codes and the ability to scan and verify them enhances transparency and allows for cross-checking results to ensure accuracy.

Modernized Electoral Process

  • Built-In Ballot Box: Integrating the ballot box within the machine ensures secure and organized handling of ballots, reducing the risk of tampering or loss.
  • Alignment with Global Standards: By adopting advanced technology from Miru Systems, the Philippines is aligning its electoral process with international standards, showcasing a commitment to modernization and technological advancement.

Impact on Voter Turnout and Engagement

  • User-Friendly Interface: The new touch-screen feature, although initially for overseas voters, introduces a more intuitive and accessible voting method that could encourage greater voter participation.
  • Reduced Errors and Disputes: Enhanced accuracy and transparency reduce the likelihood of disputes over election results, fostering greater trust in the electoral process.

In summary, these new voting machines represent a significant step forward in ensuring efficient, secure, and transparent elections in the Philippines, contributing to a more robust and trustworthy democratic process.

As a wrap…

New Voting Machines

The introduction of new voting machines for the 2025 midterm elections marks a significant advancement in the Philippines’ electoral process. Moreover, these machines, developed by Miru Systems, enhance efficiency, improve accuracy, and ensure greater transparency, accurately counting and securely handling every vote.

Furthermore, by replacing the decade-old equipment from Smartmatic with state-of-the-art technology, the Philippines is reinforcing its commitment to modernizing its electoral system and strengthening its democratic processes. This effort will boost voter confidence and participation, minimize errors and disputes, and pave the way for a more robust and trustworthy democratic system for all Filipinos.

 

Read Also: President Marcos Declares October 30 as “National day of Charity”

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Written by Marjo Piedad

Traveler | Foodie | CONTENT EDITOR
📍Cebu, Philippines
 
For features and advertising inquiries, please email  editor@proudlyfilipino.com.

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