MANILA, Aug. 31 (PNA) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is looking at the possibility of refurbishing some of the 82,000 old Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines to augment the new machines it will lease for the May 2016 national and local elections.
“One of the Comelec’s goals is to enhance the voting experience…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. Let us eliminate those long lines. And the only way to do just that is to increase the number of PCOS machines per clustered precincts,” said Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista in a statement.
He noted that adding more machines by refurbishing some of the old machines aims to bring down the voter-to-machine ratio to approximately 600 voters per cluster per machine.
Earlier, the poll body decided to lease the 93,000 Optical Mark Reader (OMR) machines with Smartmatic Total Information Management (TIM) for the forthcoming polls.The machines are the combination of the 23,000 and 73,000 OMR units.
Bautista added that some IT firms have already signified their intention to volunteer their expertise and time to check on the old machines, and see which ones we can still use for 2016.
There are about 82,000 old PCOS machines that were purchased in 2012, which are being kept in a warehouse in Laguna by the Comelec.
On the other hand, Bautista has also instructed the Comelec’s asset department to conduct an inventory of the equipment and election paraphernalia used during the last 2013 mid-term elections.
This would not only allow the Commission to assess their preparedness and readiness for the 2016 elections—it would likewise afford them the opportunity to re-use old materials to save funds.
“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 National Printing Office and the Philippine Postal Corporation. If we can secure these tie-ups, then we may be able to lower the expenditure for the elections,” the poll body chief added. (PNA)