Namfrel to seek accreditation as Comelec citizens arm

Published September 28, 2021, 2:14 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

The National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) said it will file a petition seeking accreditation as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) citizens arm in the May 2022 polls.


The poll watchdog group aims to file the petition this week.

On Tuesday, Namfrel also laid out their planned activities for the 2022 National and Local Elections such as the conduct of a parallel vote tabulation (PVT).

But the group said this will depend on whether the Comelec adopts its proposal to put QR codes on election returns.

Namfrel said the PVT, as it is now known, has been adopted by election monitoring organizations in many countries around the world as a way to :help ensure transparency in the count and detect possible fraud in the consolidation of results.”
It added that the PVT not only adds another layer of security to elections, but also provides an opportunity for the public to participate in safeguarding the process.
Namfrel said that for 2022, it envisions a parallel vote count in which other election stakeholders and the general public — and not just their observers — can participate in the count by allowing them to use a smartphone app to be created by the group to scan the QR codes on the ERs, which will then go to Namfrel servers for consolidation.

“Namfrel assures that it will have a system in place to ensure that crowdsourced information are verified before they are included in the partial unofficial count,” it said in a statement.

The group said it will again monitor the Random Manual Audit, or the manual comparison of votes from the machines and those manually counted inside the polling places included in the audit.

At present, Namfrel said it already participates in the regular meetings of the Comelec Random Manual Audit Committee (RMAC).

Namfrel said that the RMAC is also discussing some possible improvements to the audit process.

In August this year, Namfrel proposed to the poll body putting QR codes not only on the machine-generated elections returns (ER) but also on the voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT), or the paper receipt that comes out of the vote counting machine when voters cast their votes.

The group said having QR codes on the VVPAT could make the RMA more efficient.

Namfrel is also looking to make available to the public an Open Election Data website, which will contain election-related information, such as general information for voters and other election stakeholders; voter assistance; precinct-level results validation; AES performance analysis; and data research.

Other activities of Namfrel for the 2022 elections include Automated Elections System (AES) monitoring, it also aims to observe the local source code review, ballot printing, mock elections, delivery of election materials, and other processes related to AES.

On Election Day, Namfrel Bantay ng Bayan observers will monitor the conduct of the elections in different voting centers around the country, focusing on the performance of the vote counting machines, transmission of election results, and other election day activities inside and around the voting centers, among others.

Comelec accredited Namfrel as its citizens’ arm in previous polls.