Former Comelec official decries use of voter verification system in May 13 polls

By Minka Klaudia Tiangco

The VRVS scans voters’ thumbprints to determine if they are registered voters, and whether or not they are in the correct polling precinct.

Former commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal (GREGORIO "GOYO" LARRAZABAL / FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)
Former commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal (GREGORIO “GOYO” LARRAZABAL / FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)

Former commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said each voter may be stalled for up to five minutes if the VRVS cannot scan their thumbprint immediately.

“If there are 12 people who cannot find themselves in the VRVS, then that’s already a one-hour delay,” he said in an interview with ANC on Tuesday.

Larrazabal said voters and electoral boards may not immediately understand how to use the VRVS, which may cause the delay.

“Just teaching voters about the automated process took a long time; why they chose to pilot the VRVS in so many places, I don’t know,” he said.

“I hope the electoral board has been trained for the protocols to be followed,” he added.

The new verification system will only be available for pilot-testing at selected areas such as in Manila, Quezon City, Caloocan City, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Cavite, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Zamboanga del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Davao del Sur, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

The former commissioner also pointed out that while the VRVS can help ward off flying voters, those whose fingerprints cannot be read by the machine may also use the election day computerized voters list (EDCVL) for verification.

“VRVS, ideally, prevents flying voters, because you have to use your thumb. The problem is, the protocol allows for a manual override anyway,” Larrazabal said.

The Comelec said about 61 million people are expected to cast their votes in the national and local elections on May 13. #MatalinongBoto2019

 
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