Thursday, April 21, 2016

COMELEC warns against fake biometrics

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) warns the public against a number of misleading claims currently circulating, regarding the use of biometrics in the 2016 National and Local Elections.



The COMELEC has been receiving alarming reports that, in a number of cities and municipalities, unauthorized persons or parties have been conducting so-called “biometrics,” purportedly with the knowledge and consent of COMELEC. This is completely false, and constitutes an electoral offense punishable by law.

Voter validation and biometrics capturing ended on October 31, 2015, and no further additions to the approved voters’ lists, national and local, are allowed.

COMELEC’s authorized biometrics gathering activities for the 2016 National and Local Elections were conducted May 2014 up until October 31, 2015. These activities were conducted in connection with the continuing registration mandated under Republic Act 8189.

With the end of the registration period in October, the COMELEC has ceased all biometrics gathering, and has since finalized the list of voters. To be clear, this means that no biometrics gathering activities have been conducted since October 31, 2015, and there will no longer be any additions to the list of registered voters in the 2016 elections, except only for Court-ordered inclusions.

Biometrics cannot be used to find out who you voted for.

The COMELEC has also taken note of the apprehension that biometrics data can be used to determine who a voter voted for. This is categorically false. Biometrics cannot be used to find out who any voter has chosen to mark his official ballot on election day.

COMELEC launched its #NoBioNoBoto campaign for the biometric validation of all registered voters in 2014, to ensure that every voter is properly identified and allowed to vote just once, only in the place where they are registered.

COMELEC biometrics involved taking a digital photograph of the voter’s face, the digital recording of the voter’s signature, and the digital capture of the voter’s fingerprints. These biometric records are used to identify each voter, together with other voter information such as the voter’s address. This information is now securely stored in the COMELEC’s databases and cannot be accessed without proper authorization.

The COMELEC will use biometrics in the 2016 National and Local Elections.

Despite the absence of election day biometrics validation facilities at the polling places, biometrics will continue to play a very critical role in securing the elections against fraudulent practices.

The biometrics data in COMELEC’s data base was used to print out the Computerized Voters Lists that will be used by polling places nationwide, to determine whether a person is eligible to vote. A person with no biometrics registered with the COMELEC will not be included in the lists of voters, and therefore will not be allowed to vote on election day.

COMELEC warns the public not to fall victim to misinformation and deception. With the elections less than a month away, more of these schemes can be expected, and we enjoin our voters to be vigilant. The COMELEC also serves notice to operators, agents and participants of these unauthorized biometrics gathering operations that they are violating our election laws, and will be subject to criminal prosecution when caught. (COMELEC)
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