Comelec to use optical mark reader in 2010

Published by rudy Date posted on January 20, 2009

The Commission on Elections will use optical mark reader (OMR) machines in the 2010 national and local elections, Comelec Chairman Jose Melo said yesterday.

Melo noted the Comelec has decided to drop direct recording electronics (DRE) and other poll computerization technologies upon the recommendation of the multi-sector Advisory Council on Poll Automation.

“It will be OMR, officially. Even the IFES was saying that OMR is more transparent,” he claimed, referring to International Foundation for Electoral system, a Washington-based election assistance organization.

Melo added that even in developed countries like the United States, OMR is much favored than DRE because of the paper trail.

According to Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, the primary concern in choosing OMR over DRE is that the former has “paper trail or paper audit.”

“Budget is only secondary. Our foremost consideration is the paper trail, the proof (of voting),” Sarmiento said.

In OMR, the names of candidates are printed on a paper and voters choose their candidates by shading with pencil the corresponding ovals.

But in DRE, voters tap the name and photograph of their candidates on a computerized screen. The votes will then be counted and canvassed automatically.–Sheila Crisostomo, Philippine Star

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