Comelec says overseas internet voting test runs to begin July

Published June 23, 2021, 11:03 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will begin the overseas internet voting test runs next month.


“The test runs, which come at no cost to the Commission, will begin in July. This exploratory test use of a mobile app for overseas voters is groundbreaking, and the results will have a significant and valuable impact on how elections may be conducted in the future,” Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, Commissioner-in-Charge for Overseas Voting, said in a statement Wednesday, June 23.

The poll body on June 21, signed the Memoranda of Agreement with two internet voting solutions providers in preparation for the conduct of live test runs of their internet voting systems.

The internet voting test runs form part of the Commission’s exploratory study of internet-based technologies for possible use in internet voting.

The Comelec said the test run is the third phase of the implementation plan, which will involve the actual test voting activity.

“Test voters who have previously signified interest and given consent will participate in a mock election using the solutions providers’ apps or platforms,” it said.

The Comelec said those interested of becoming “voters” for the test run may sign up until June 25.

“We call on registered overseas voters who have active and complete voter registration record to sign up and be part of this important activity,” OFOV Director Sonia Bea Wee-Lozada said.

Commissioner Antonio T. Kho, Jr., Vice CIC for Overseas Voting, signed on behalf of Comelec Executive Director Bartolome J. Sinocruz, Jr.

Ryan Earl So of Indra Sistemas and Henry Tan Sim of Voatz signed as representatives of the solutions providers.

Due to conflict of schedule, Smartmatic will sign the MOA on a later date.

The first and second phases, which involved preparation and presentation, were completed in the last quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, respectively.

The fourth and last phase will be the evaluation phase, which pertains to the post-election assessment activity to document all stakeholders’ observations, user experience, feedback, comments, and such other matters.

Republic Act No. 9189 or the Overseas Voting Act authorizes the Comelec to explore internet-based technologies for overseas voting.