Filipino voters will be using new voting machines in the May 9, 2016 national and local elections.
This, after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) decided to lease a total of 93,977 optical mark reader (OMR) machines from Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) Corp. to be utilized in next year?s polls.
?After exhaustive consultation with stakeholders and with due consideration of the current circumstances, particularly issues relating to cost, timeliness and technical risks, the Commission unanimously decided to choose the more prudent approach of leasing all new 93,000+ machines for the 2016 elections,? said Comelec chairman Juan Andres Bautista in a press briefing.
He added, ?The Commission believes that this is the most viable, practical and safest option to pursue in our efforts to ensure the credibility of the 2016 elections.?
Earlier, the Venezuela-based company won the public bidding for the 23,000 machines after offering a bid of P2.2 billion (P1.7 billion for lease; P500 million for option to purchase) and offered P7.862 billion (P6.286 billion for lease and P1.576 billion for option to purchase) for the 70,977 OMR machines.
The Comelec cited advantages in leasing new machines such as the delivery of all 93,000 plus OMRs by January 2016; initial delivery by October 2015; sufficient time for testing and new machines are configured to address problems encountered in 2010 and 2013 elections.
On the other hand, Bautista explained their plan on the existing 81,896 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines.
?We will still bid out the refurbishment/upgrade contract with a longer lead time. We plan to utilize the refurbished/upgraded 81,000+ PCOS machines for the 2019 elections,? the poll body chief added. — PNA