16 July 2019 – New ideas and methodologies on automated election system highlighted the conduct of AES Technology Fair on Monday as the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) gathered concepts to be considered for the 2022 National and Local Elections (NLE).

The forum and exhibit was founded on the overriding principle of “One Citizen, One Vote, One Count”, highlighting the need to improve transparency and ensure every vote is counted through a new and improved AES that can be utilized for 2022 NLE.

“This tech fair is a platform for us stakeholders to address inquiries and concerns, to put forward suggestions for improvement, and to jumpstart a comprehensive approach to the alternative AES,” DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II said.

The exhibit featured various technology providers such as Avant-Garde ICT Inc., Smartmatic Philippines Inc., Indra Philippines Inc., VOATZ and Bapplware Technologies Inc. Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and citizen-arm NAMFREL also participated in the said event.

DICT’s “Vote Tallying Machines (VTM)” concept presented by Undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr., merges new and traditional processes, using manual counting and a unique QR code to faithfully reflect the voting results. Through Optical Mark Recognition (OMR), the machine will capture, process, and display a digital ballot image on a screen for visual confirmation of the voter. Election inspectors will help facilitate the validation and monitor discrepancies.  The VTM will also display the running total tally.

The VTM concept will improve the transparency of vote appreciation at the precinct level, while retaining the previous transmission process. Moreover, this system will shorten the voting time and simplify the workflow.

Other proposed concepts featured various methodologies that incorporated the use blockchain technology, two-factor authentication solutions, encryption security systems, among others. The AES concepts aimed to promote accuracy of results and decrease vulnerability to cheating. Another key focus was eliminating logistical concerns in transmission and tallying, such as addressing device failure issues.

Each presenter was given an opportunity to demonstrate their concept and prototype. Similarly, the audience were given the chance to input comments and suggestions regarding the AES presented.

Sitting as the chair of the COMELEC Advisory Council (CAC), DICT will provide recommendations to COMELEC on the appropriate technology to be used for the 2022 NLE.