Comelec to pilot-test fingerprint voter verification
Ding Cervantes, Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - March 22, 2019 - 12:00am

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga  , Philippines  —  The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will pilot-test in Nueva Ecija a new voter registration system that will check the identity of voters through their fingerprints.

The poll body is pilot-testing some 35,000 units of Voter Registration Verification System (VRVS) machines, which were designed to identify voters by scanning the fingerprints of voters assigned in a particular polling precinct.   

The VRVS machines functioned “100 percent” during recent field tests in Manila, Quezon City, Cavite, Pangasinan, Cebu, Negros Occidental, Davao del Sur and Zamboanga del Sur.  

Comelec assistant director Elmo Duque gave assurance that voters whose fingerprints do not appear in the machines could still vote if their identity is verified through the usual documentary process.

Meanwhile, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez allayed fears of partisan politics with the declaration of the entire Mindanao as an election hotspot.

Jimenez said the reporting procedures of the automated election system are “fully transparent and protected” and has been proven to be successful in preventing cheating in three previous elections.  “There is no reason to fear it would be otherwise,” he said.

He said the declaration was a result of consultations with officials of local government units, the police and military.

While admitting that there are areas in Mindanao that are relatively peaceful, Jimenez said the possibility of violent incidents, which could involve armed groups could not be fully discounted.

He said Comelec control over the region would ensure utmost response if the need arises.

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