THE poll body expects minor problems in the plan automation of the upcoming special elections in Mindanao and other parts of the country where failure of election took place last May 10, 2010.

Comelec Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer said the en banc already has its consensus and that is to automate the special elections tentatively slated on September 12.

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Among the issues the en banc considers in deciding whether to use the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines or not for the special polls include if it would be cheaper to buy the units they would need, the printing of the ballots as well as the momentum on machine use for the voters.

“Nagkaroon na kami ng parang consensus na baka we will automate,” Ferrer said.

Ferrer said Smartmatic Corp., the supplier of the PCOS machines already submitted the costing for the acquisition of the 800 units of computers.

“Its cheaper to buy because the option to buy states that the cost to us if we buy is 70 percent. And I also ask Smartmatic if we exercise that option are we bound to buy the whole thing. Hindi naman sabi nila. So meron sila sinubmit na costing,” Ferrer noted.

The poll official also said they could use the machines to earn money since it is sure that the machines will be used for the election protests cases.

Special elections are set to be held in some areas in Basilan (345 clustered precincts), Lanao del Sur (28), and Bulacan (442).

Registration

In a related development, Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal urged the public particularly those who were deactivated to have themselves registered in the scheduled registration in time for the barangay elections in October.

Larrazabal said the registration next month would give those who have been deactivated a chance to renew their applications as they project lesser registrants.

“Now is the best opportunity for those who are deactivated so that they can vote for the coming barangay elections,” he said.

Based on the figures from the Comelec–Election and Barangay Affairs Department (EBAD), as of July 2009, at least 5.6 million Filipinos have been deactivated by the Comelec due to different explanations.

Among the reasons for deactivation are their failures to vote in two successive elections, loss of Filipino citizenship, excluded by Court orders, ruled to incarceration no less than a year, having committed crime due to disloyalty to the Philippine government, and was found to be insane or incompetent.

The poll official hopes that the momentum and interest in the recent national and local polls would encourage deactivated voters to renew their registration.

“Due to the increase in participation seen in the May 10 polls, we hope this would carry the momentum so we can have as many voters possible,” Larrazabal said.

The public is encouraged to file their application for registration on August 1 to 10 in all Offices of the Election Officer (OEOs) of the district/city/municipality, where the applicant resides.

The registration will open every day even on weekends from 8 am to 7 pm.

They are asked to bring Identification cards such as office, postal, student, senior citizen, SSS/GSIS, Integrated Bar of the Philippines’, as well as NBI clearance, driver’s license, passport, and Professional Regulation Commission license for them to be able to register. (MSN/FP/Sunnex)