My class in Public Officers and Election Law is coming to a close- we are now at election law. After spending some (read: a lot of) time reading the required material, we were told to disregard some of them because provisions have become obsolete due to the Automated Election System. Being the diligent student that I am (HAHA), I’ve since given up on reading the text and just settled for reading the law. At times like these (finals!!!!), practicality is the answer.
Speaking of practicality and the AES, the COMELEC has re-considered the idea of using the internet for overseas absentee voters (OAVs). Under RA 9189, absentee voters may cast their votes personally at embassies or via mail. This law would have to be amended if internet use is to be allowed. If internet voting is used, the problem of low turnout from OAVs would be addressed, since the main hindrance for their participation is inconvenience. With easy access, more Filipinos abroad would be encouraged to exercise their right to suffrage.
In class, the professor stated that much of the dangers that faced elections before like dagdag-bawas, turtle-paced canvassing, flying voters, etc. were answered by the computerization of elections. Given the possibility of the use of the internet, what new dangers can come up? The main and biggest concern of COMELEC is security. Votes can be hacked and tampered with, access to the voting site can be denied, voters can be lured to fake websites. If the COMELEC pushes through with this proposal, they would have to adopt a system that is safe and free from attacks. They would also need to secure public confidence in this system to ensure participation. Who knows, if this can be done successfully abroad, maybe someday, it can be adopted for domestic elections.
Krystel Jehan M. Bautista, entry no. 16