ANGELES CITY -- The City government, in partnership with the Commission on Elections (Comelec), is holding a series of Voters' Education Seminars.

The seminar started Saturday at the Angeles City Library, in preparation for the upcoming automated elections.

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The move is in accordance with Republic Act (RA) 9369, otherwise known as the amended Automated Elections System Law authored by Senator Richard Gordon, where voters are expected to cast their political bets on a new and unfamiliar platform in the upcoming 2010 election.

To familiarize Angeleños on the new technology, the local government has invited Provincial Election Supervisor Temie Lambino to discuss issues and answer queries regarding the automated elections.

The first session was attended by almost 1,200 poll watchers for Mayor Francis “Blueboy” Nepomuceno. Lambino briefed the attendees with the fundamentals of the voting procedure.

The highlight of the lecture is the demonstration of the capabilities of Smartmatic's Precinct Count Optical Scanner (PCOS).

PCOS is a paper-based automated election system (AES) that was commissioned to be used for May’s elections.

The new system requires voters to shade ovals that correspond to a particular candidate similar to filling out a lottery ticket. Names of the candidates are “pre-printed” into the ballot unlike the former process of writing each political bet manually.

Each precinct will get a specific type of ballot with local officials of that specific area printed on one page, and national candidates on the reverse page. Other features of the election system were presented with the use of an audio-visual aid prepared by the Angeles City Information Office (CIO).

“It is very crucial for Angeleños to be familiar with the new election proceedings. Familiarity would decrease anxiety, hence, reducing the risk for errors. It is of great importance to guarantee that voters will know how to cast their votes in this year's election. This will prevent voters from being disenfranchised or their ballots being spoiled,” said Nepomuceno while citing the importance of the seminar.

More information regarding the AES could be found at Comelec’s website at (Ian Ocampo Flora)