The 2019 midterm elections are fast approaching, and the political climate is rich with rumors of a “no-election” scenario. However, these claims are seen as baseless by election watchdog Democracy Watch, who expressed support for President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration to conduct “clean and orderly” polls for the upcoming Senate elections.
Democracy Watch Secretary General Claudette Guevara released a statement on Tuesday that a part of this confidence comes from the great strides taken by the country to switch to the Automated Election System employed in the last three elections.
“Transparency is a key principle in ensuring credible elections, as it helps establish trust and confidence in the process by guaranteeing that the results reflect the true will of the people,” Guevara said.
The 2016 elections, Guevara noted, are believed to be the most credible in recent memory. This view of the legitimacy of the polls is echoed by nationwide opinion surveys and accounts held by foreign observers. One such signifier is a Pulse Asia survey that was conducted after the polls and which showed that more than 90 percent of the respondents believed the exercise of voting was fast, orderly, and peaceful.
The Automated Election System builds transparency and also cuts down on time-delays for results. By election night, some 86% of all votes had been transmitted and counted. Guevara said that things of this sort are a step forward for the Philippine electoral system.
“(In) May 2016, the world saw more than 44 million Filipinos troop to their respective polling precincts and made their voices heard through a process that has long been a cornerstone of our democracy. The faster conduct resulted in less instability and greater confidence in the process,” Guevara said in her statement.
Further, Democracy Watch gave more susggestions to improve the polls, such as investing in new information technology infrastructure and developing the human resources of the Commission on Elections. According to Guevara, such investments are also investments in political stability.