How about a parallel manual count, COMELEC?

The technology selected by COMELEC and affirmed by the Supreme Court is fraught with (foreseen or unforeseen) inadequacies that may cause possible system crashes even at the precinct levels. starting from the design of ballots up to the final counting.  In many ways, Murphy’s Law lurks.  ‘If anything can go wrong, it will.’  ‘Nobody gets it right the first time.’

Rather than enumerate all these scenarios to which the COMELEC has become averse to serious consideration and takes with a grain of salt, the strategic advocacy is to clamor for a parallel manual count similar to the Open Electoral System (OES) espoused by Christian Monsod and Gus Lagman.  Unlike the machine count based on the PCOS which totally lacks transparency, the OES bats for the traditional manual count at the precincts and calls for the automation of the canvass of these counts using microcomputers (which the COMELEC can use after the elections for, among others, updating and improving the list of registered voters).

The only experience of the population to OMR (optical mark recognition) has been with the Lotto but there are glaring differences, with the automated electoral system lacking in comparative transparency.  The Lotto bettor fills up the form and this is fed to the machine.  S/he then gets a printed receipt/ticket of her/is bet.  The drawing of the winning set of numbers is televised nationwide.

Under the automated electoral system, once the voter (successfully) feeds her/is ballot to the PCOS, s/he will just wait for the final results.

I attended a Harvard Forum where I did get the declaration from the COMELEC person that when all else fails, there is a ‘continuity’ provision in the law that provides for a manual count.  And since neither the COMELEC nor anyone can foresee in which precincts the PCOS will fail, it has to prepare for manual counts in ALL precincts.

I understand too that the PhP 11 billion was set aside for the automation of elections.  Smartmatic won the bid at PhP 7 billion.  The remaining PhP 4 billion can therefore be allocated for the proposed OES.

If this would be accepted by COMELEC, which count would be more credible?  That of the transparent OES over the covert Smartmatic result, I suppose.

As it stands now, we have subordinated our experience, our creativity, our suffrage and perhaps our destiny to the PCOS, a spruced-up box of integrated electronic circuitry with a motherboard and source code manufactured and crafted by people [aliens?] whose sole motivation is profit.

My opinion.


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Filed under election, Philippines

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