Comelec ready for midterm elections, cites technology, social media presence

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By Gillian M. Cortez

IMPROVED technological advancements and stronger social media response have enabled Commission on Elections (Comelec) to improve preparations for this 2019 elections, its spokesman said when sought for comment.

In an interview with BusinessWorld, Comelec spokesperson James B. Jimenez said, “Operationally, we are improving and honing are craft and, in fact, we are moving away from too much focus on technical sides of elections and more on the inclusivity side. That’s because we got the technology nailed down, because we have the time and energy to devote to rounding out the whole experience. That’s one of the hallmarks of us improving,” he added.

For this election, the Comelec has set up 33 accessible voting centers (AVCs) for indigenous peoples (IPs) nationwide, more than pin ast elections. Comelec has also put up more voting centers for 65,000 detainee voters.

A Comelec Precinct Finder is now available to the public despite earlier reports of glitches.

The Comelec has also used social media platforms such as Twitter so voters can report election violations to the Poll Body by tagging the poll body to tweets and photos indicating such violations.

“Prior to 2019, expenses for social media were not recorded and hopefully that changes in 2019 and hopefully become more institutionalized,” Mr. Jimenez said.

The biggest challenge facing the Comelec is misinformation. Mr. Jimenez said, “Misinformation tactics and black propaganda are old tactics even in the old elections but they’re getting a boost in social media because it increases their reach. The challenge is how to get ahead of that.”