Voting closed today for 669 overseas Filipinos invited to participate in an online voting test run organized by the country’s Commission on Elections (Comelec) and facilitated by Voatz.
Under Republic Act No. 10590, also known as the Overseas Voting Act of 2013, Comelec has the jurisdiction to “explore other more efficient, reliable, and secure modes or systems, ensuring the secrecy and sanctity of the entire process, whether paper-based, electronic-based, or internet-based technology or such other latest technology available, for onsite and remote registration and elections.” In order to better understand the security of online voting systems and their accessibility for overseas voters, Comelec invited select voting providers to showcase their systems during test elections this fall.
The Voatz system was showcased during a test election that lasted from September 11th to 13th. A mock ballot featuring celebrity candidates and a plebiscite-style question about mandatory Covid-19 vaccines was used to give participants the opportunity to test the system. Out of 669 volunteer participants, 348 cast their ballots before the test window closed. This 52.01% turnout surpassed what the country typically sees for its overseas voters, according to Comelec Director of Overseas Voting, Bea Wee-Lozada. Under the current system, overseas Filipinos can either cast their ballots in-person at Philippine consulates and embassies or pay the postal fees to return their ballots by mail.
Voatz was honored to participate in the i-voting test run, which will be remembered as an important milestone in the country’s efforts to increase security and accessibility in elections.
We all succeed when there’s a level playing field for entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds. Voatz is proud to join a group of 113 minority-led startups and business organizations to urge the United States Patent and Trademark Office and National Council for Expanding American Innovation to build a better innovation ecosystem that is inclusive and supports all Americans equally.
The ability for immigrants to innovate and lead in this country are integral to the fabric of American excellence. This moment is a real opportunity to build a brighter future for innovation, one that welcomes more communities and underrepresented groups. Voatz is intimately aware of the challenges underserved populations face through our advocacy for voter access. For these groups, the structural reality is that they face more barriers, opportunities remain out of reach, and we must recognize that their obstacles deny them a seat at the table.
When underserved communities are prevented from thriving and building solutions, it’s the nation’s loss. Society’s most urgent problems remain unrecognized and unresolved. The lived experience that many of our peers bring to our organizations is invaluable. Voatz was born because its founders, as children, saw voter coercion first-hand, and intimately know the barriers voters face in casting their ballots. Experiences like these fuel our desire to build a better world that is representative of marginalized communities.
The time to build towards a more equitable world is now. We applaud USPTO and NCEAI for their initiative and look forward to working with you.
To read the letter calling on the government to advance diversity in innovation at this link.