COMELEC ensures OFW voting security with online platform; Contracts sealed for Internet Voting in 2025

COMELEC ensures OFW voting security with online platform; Contracts sealed for Internet Voting in 2025

FOR the first time ever, OFWs will cast their votes online, requiring only an internet connection via their phone, iPad, tablet, or computer for registration and voting access.

This after COMELEC sealed a 100-million contract with SMS Global Technologies and its partner Sequent Tech Inc. for Online Voting, on Tuesday morning.

Their original passport will serve as their valid ID during the voting process. As a security measure, they must capture their identification document and provide a video selfie.

Contractors have reassured the public about vote security, citing features like end-to-end encryption implemented across online platforms.

COMELEC Chairman Atty. George Garcia said that the commission will conduct massive voter education for online voting, hoping that through this method, voter turnout will increase in the 2025 Midterm election abroad.

Chairman Garcia emphasized that many Filipinos abroad are hesitant to vote online due to their overseas status.

He also acknowledged concerns particularly among undocumented or foreign citizens residing abroad, assuring them of protection measures by the commission.

“Their real fear is their undocumented status. The issue of undocumented status isn’t just in South Korea; it’s prevalent in many countries.”

“Even in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Arab countries, being undocumented is always a problem. Filipinos are afraid that when they renew their passport—note that they use their passport for renewal or registration—this might lead to reporting.”

“Therefore, for the next part, they can’t renew their passport because they fear they might get reported. In all fairness to our embassy, to our DFA, when it comes to registration, they don’t have any issue with the passport. In fact, someone even said, “We are renewing the passport even though they know that an undocumented alien might not be able to.” The important thing is to renew the passport so they can register. So that’s what needs to be explained,” according to Atty. George Garcia, Chairman, COMELEC.

Chairman Garcia pointed out that currently, OFWs must travel long distances to embassies to cast their votes.

He also stressed the need to prioritize seafarers in implementing online voting and underscored the importance of OFW votes in a successful election.

“They think their voice doesn’t matter, but we want to tell them that every voice is crucial in our elections. You may be just one million, but that one million can elect the 12 senators, and that can already elect two party-list representatives. Therefore, it means a lot for the candidates for the Senate, candidates for party-lists, and later on, candidates for vice president and president,” added Garcia.

Meanwhile, Garcia clarified that 17 posts abroad do not allow internet voting due to government restrictions.

Therefore, new voting machines will be brought to consulates and embassies for Filipino voters to cast their ballots there.


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