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Comelec still looking for ways to use old PCOS machines

Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - August 31, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The old precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines could still be used in next year’s polls.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is looking for ways to use the old PCOS machines to augment the 93,977 optical mark reader (OMR) machines to be leased.

More voting machines will be deployed to decongest the polling precincts, Chairman Andres Bautista said yesterday.

“We are also trying to find ways on how to decongest some clustered precincts with traditionally high voter population turnouts so that our people would not be inconvenienced when they go to their precincts,” he said.

“Let us eliminate those long lines. And the only way to do that is to increase the number of PCOS machines per clustered precinct.”

Under the original plan, the Comelec will lease all new OMR machines for next year’s polls, and the 81,896 PCOS units first introduced in the 2010 polls will be used in the 2019 elections.

The Comelec is studying the viability of refurbishing the PCOS machines to bring down the voters-to-machine ratio to 600, Bautista said.

In the 2013 elections, 1,000 voters were assigned to each clustered precinct and this resulted in overcrowding.

PCOS and OMR machines are of the same technology but the Comelec opted for units used in 2010 and 2013 only for distinction.

The scheme is part of Comelec’s efforts to enhance the voting experience, Bautista said.

“This is why we partnered with over 200 malls all over the country for our ‘no bio, no boto’ campaign,” he said

Bautista has instructed the Comelec’s asset department to hold an inventory of the equipment and the paraphernalia used in the 2013 elections. It would not only allow the agency to assess their preparedness and readiness for the 2016 elections, but it would likewise afford them the opportunity to re-use old materials to save funds, Bautista said.

“To save more, we are looking at partnering with government agencies on producing some of the election components such as ballot printing and logistics. One example is having a partnership with NPO (National Printing Office) and the PhilPost (Philippine Postal Corp),” he said. “If we can secure these tie-ups, then we may be able to lower the expenditure for the elections.”

ACIRC BAUTISTA CHAIRMAN ANDRES BAUTISTA CLUSTERED COMELEC ELECTIONS MACHINES NATIONAL PRINTING OFFICE PCOS PHILIPPINE POSTAL CORP USED
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