election results

Comelec says automation may fail, but not polls

Comelec says automation may fail, but not polls
By Ryan Chua

MANILA, Philippines – The clock is ticking for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to finish preparations for the country’s first automated polls.

Many fear the elections will end up in chaos and failure.

But the Comelec has tried to assure voters that the elections will proceed smoothly.

Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said the elections will not fail, insisting that the poll body has a back-up plan in case the machines bog down.

The Comelec said if the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines conk out, there are almost 6,000 spare machines that can be used.

This was what the poll body did when 2 machines malfunctioned in the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) in Hong Kong over the weekend.

If the Comelec runs out of spare machines, Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) can transfer the compact flash card of the PCOS to another machine where the votes will be counted.

In case of a problem in transmission, the SIM cards of the modem can be interchanged, a satellite facility can be used or the compact flash card containing the election results can be brought to the canvassing center.

If all these contingency measures fail, the Comelec said the votes can still be counted manually.

Forms for manual elections are being printed in case automation fails in some parts of the country.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said they are prepared for a 30% failure of poll automation by resorting to manual elections.

The Comelec added that the National Printing Office is about to complete printing the 50 million ballots needed for election day.

As of posting time, only around 7 million ballots have yet to be printed.

Failure of automation, not failure of elections, the Comelec said, is the worst that can happen to this year’s polls.

And even if it happens, the poll body assures the country it will eventually have a new set of leaders.

Poll results to come up on big screens

Poll results to come up on big screens
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Poll watchers and watchdogs will be able to see the canvassed election results as they come in on May 10 on large screen monitors and projectors that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has agreed to install at all canvassing centers.

The Comelec agreed to put up the monitors after representatives of the Makati Business Club (MBC) and information technology groups met with Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal on Friday to discuss their proposals on the monitoring of the results of the May 10 automated national elections.

Their suggestions were aimed at ensuring that the transmitted tallies would reflect the ballots cast into the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines that would be used for the first time in the country.

The PCOS machines —82,200 were ordered from Smartmatic TIM Corp.—will read and record votes cast using machine-readable ballots. At the end of the voting day, the machines will print 30 election returns and transmit the results to various servers.

Larrazabal said the Comelec had agreed to place large-screen projectors in 1,637 municipal canvassing centers, which would show the results from the precincts after the polling ends at 6 p.m. on May 10. Kristine L. Alave