We are only six (6) days away from the widely-criticized Automated Local and National Elections and instead of reinforcing faith in the effectivity and reliability of the system, more and more problems are being discovered casting doubts that the COMELEC is capable of ensuring a successful conduct of the elections. To update you of the recent events, just in case you failed to catch-up with the news, I have summarized some of the issues below and have attempted to clarify, explain and allay the fears of voters like myself.
But first, a disclaimer: I do not claim any authority or expertise whatsoever with regards to both the technical and legal aspects of the Automated Election System. But being a computer technician by education and an equipment maintenance/technician by profession, there are aspects of the automation system that I can understand and have confidence on -- and consequently would like to do my part in dousing unnecessary fear and doubt about our very first automated elections. These explanations are a mixed bag of knowledge based on what I have read on the COMELEC website and elsewhere on the web, my experience and knowledge as a technician and my personal understanding of the process. Advice, comments and opinions in this blog and in this particular post must not be construed as 100% factual as this is primarily an opinion blog and not a news source. It is your obligation as a responsible citizen to be wary of the information you read online and elsewhere. Any mention of statistical information must be verified with the proper news source. Consider this my little way of shedding light on the issue which I feel I have the social and moral obligation to impart. If you feel this is helpful to you, your family, friends and colleagues, please feel free to share this post. All posts in this blog are licensed as Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Philippines.Below is a list of current problems experienced during yesterday's dry-run which the COMELEC is looking into and finding solutions for: 1. Failure of the PCOS to "read" or count votes for certain candidates. Some political parties, Manny Villar's Nacionalista Party in particular are claiming that votes for Manny Villar were not counted in a dry-run held in Muntinlupa and that similar scenarios were observed in other areas (Mindoro, Batangas, Makati and Pateros). Other problems included incidents where only votes for Lakas-Kampi CMD (LKC) candidates were counted.
- COMELEC's Response: In today's "Unang Hirit" interview with Winnie Monsod, COMELEC spokesman James Jimenez said that errors of miscounting only happened in counting LOCAL election candidates' votes because the names for the local candidates were printed/moved ON THE BACK SIDE of the ballot (this is a design issue done to shorten the length of the ballot), and that the error was caused by the CF (Compact Flash) cards failing to consider/adjust its parameters (software issue) based on the physical ALIGNMENT of the names on the back of the ballot.
- What COMELEC has done/will do: Recall/pull-out ALL CF cards (all 76,000+ of them) and reconfigure it. This will happen from today and hopefully finish soon to give them ample time to resume with the dry-run. We have 6 days.
- My Take:
RMA (Random Manual Audit) Random Manual Audit will be done on the day of the elections, May 10, 2010 in 5 precincts per legislative district. Precincts that will undergo manual audit will be "drawn" from a raffle to be done mid-day. Actual random audit on selected precinct will be done at around 6 or 7 pm after the voting schedule. Votes recorded on the PCOS machine will be verified against actual votes cast on physical ballots. While 100% accuracy is not expected due to subjective human interpretation vs. machine parameters, Smartmatic claims no more than 0.5% difference. What happens if RMA fails for a certain precinct? Will it postpone the proclamation of winners in the municipal level/local posts? No -- because by the time manual audit is through, results would have been transmitted by the PCOS machines and the COMELEC will proclaim accordingly regardless of the result of the RMA. Protests and investigation will go through the usual course of action but IT WILL NOT STOP IMMEDIATE PROCLAMATION. So the scenario of a holdover or non-proclamation of winners is VERY unlikely.2. Purposely delaying the voting process may result to reduced voter turn-out and adversely affect election results.
- COMELEC's Response:
- What COMELEC has done/will do:
- My Take: