POC elections to go digital?

Published November 9, 2020, 4:24 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

The group tasked by the Philippine Olympic Committee to handle its elections on November 27 is taking up the possibility of allowing online voting or via sealed ballots.

“We’ll consider all possible options like sending ballots via courier in advance or online voting,” said Atty. Teodoro Kalaw IV, chairman of the POC election committee on Monday’s Zoom meeting with national sports ssociations representatives.

“Voting onsite will remain as default setting,” he added.

The issue was raised because of health concerns to senior voting members of the POC as well as to Hidilyn Diaz, who said she could not return home because of travel restrictions.

The 2016 Rio Olympics weightlifting silver medal winner, who has been training in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia since March, has the right to vote being one of the two athletes representatives with the other one being swimmer Jessie Khing Lacuna.

Kalaw stressed that nothing has been cast in stone yet since he needs to discuss everything with electoral committee members Frank Elizalde, a former International Olympic Committee representative, and Danilo Concepcion, University of the Philippines president.

But if the alternative voting would eventually be approved, NSA officials can vote via onsite, online or courier, which will be a first in the history of the POC elections.

“It has never happened,” said triathlon chief Tom Carrasco, who is running as chairman under the ticket of incumbent POC president Abraham Tolentino.

Kalaw said they would implement strict protocols in onsite voting including conducting swab testing.

“There would be swab tests,” he said.