Koko Wants Online Voting Piloted Among Seamen Next Year

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III filed a measure on Thursday that would allow Filipino seafarers to cast their votes online in next year’s presidential elections.

Senate Resolution No. 1143 asks the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Overseas Voting Act of 2013 to study the necessity of other modes or systems for onsite and remote registration and elections.

Pimentel said resolution requires the Commission on Elections to submit its report and recommendations on proposals for Internet-voting for select sea-based overseas Filipinos.

“The JCOC-OVA is mandated by law to monitor and evaluate the implementation of Republic Act No. 9189, otherwise known as the Overseas Voting Act of 2013 as amended,” Pimentel said in a statement.

The law allows the Comelec to “explore other more efficient, reliable, and secure modes or systems, ensuring the secrecy and sanctity of the entire process, whether paper-based, electronic-based or Internet-based technology.”

Pimentel said the JCOC-OVA would like to know Comelec’s plan to pilot test other modes or systems for onsite and remote registration and elections like the use of touchscreen and Internet voting systems in Pateros, Metro Manila and sea-based Filipinos in next year polls.

With the elections fast approaching, Pimentel said the JCOC-OVA should immediately be constituted and convened to study the Comelec’s plan to pilot test Internet voting in the Americas, the Middle East, Hong Kong and Singapore next year.

“The use of Internet voting is expected to greatly boost the participation of sea-based Filipinos in select countries around the world where Comelec will be pilot testing the system,” Pimentel said.