AFTER YEARS OF utilizing Microsoft Forms as the College of Arts and Sciences’ (CAS) main voting system, the Electoral Board (ELBO), together with the Bedan Information Technology Society (BITS), embraced “further innovation” as it introduces a new and improved polling system which will be used in the upcoming Second Special Election for Student Council (SC) President and First Year Representative elections this September 9. 

During the course of the preceding elections in the College, ELBO had been cautious enough to keep up with the times as they frequently updated the CAS’ voting system: from traditional manual voting to the Microsoft Forms system used to date. 

But now, “born out of a desire to improve upon our past election experiences,” said ELBO’s current vice chairperson, Kurt Catolico, the Board made a collective yet careful decision to implement a new voting system, “one that is “on par with leading universities.” 

“Its creation stems from a concerted effort to offer the San Beda community a state-of-the-art voting experience befitting our university’s stature among the nation’s premier academic institutions,” added Catolico. 

Despite the “reliable functionality” of the Microsoft system, which ELBO conceded, the Board nonetheless continued to stand by its commitment to “continuous improvement,” and therefore abolished the current voting system considering how it has a limited capacity to handle simultaneous voting, not to mention how “it lacks the advanced security features necessary to protect against unauthorized access, tampering, or manipulation of voting data,” Catolico argued.

But with the dawn of the new voting system, ELBO assured that it will make a significant leap in “upholding the Bedan democratic values” as it would drastically “improve security, reliability, and efficiency,” along with the upgraded server capacity, hence making the voting process “streamlined and simplified, ensuring a smooth and convenient experience for all,” says Catolico.

Going further behind-the-scenes of the whole voting processes, ELBO shared how the new system would be even made more convenient for the poll watchers since real-time turnout monitoring and enhanced auditing access have been incorporated to ensure that the integrity, reliability, and transparency of the process are maintained. 

While the new voting system would enhance the voting processes of elections in the Bedan community, much credit has also been given to BITS for actualizing the aim of ELBO. 

 According to Catolico, as he reminisced back to the pre-implementation period of the new system, “we couldn’t have foreseen how effectively BITS would assist us in bringing it to fruition.” 

Hence, when the implementation to completion period took place, the ELBO vice chairperson expressed how BITS’ dedication and commitment has “exceeded their expectations,” going so far as dedicating “long hours to late nights” for the sake of developing the new voting system. 

Carl Liwanag, the president of BITS, shared how ‘easy’ it was to actually develop the system thanks to the constant feedback by ELBO. He further added how “smooth” their working relationship is, since their frequent reminders, meetings, and constant communication would help in delegating tasks and devising a schedule that is convenient for all.

Nearing the third edition of Boto Bedista 2023, the new system will be used for the voting processes this coming Election Day, September 9. Until then, ELBO will be publicizing a comprehensive guide soon, along with detailed instructions on how to navigate and utilize the new voting system.