• Manual precinct-level counting is the best–the only transparent way

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    STICKING to former Commission on Elections chair Sixto Brillantes’ policy to demonize manual counting of votes (written by voters on their ballots), the present Comelec chair and most of the commissioners also reject returning to the old way votes were handled in each precinct.

    Remember how it went? At the end of the voting day–with the representatives of the competing political parties, of the authorized citizens’ groups (like Namfrel) or the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), the press and the police or any deputized law-enforcement agency watching–the precinct’s Board of Election Inspectors (the teachers who conducted the voting process in the precinct during the voting hours) opened the ballot box and then read the votes shown in every valid ballot.

    Each vote was marked with the “taras” on the paper election return and also on the blackboard or whiteboard which everyone could see. The total count was publicly announced and could be seen on the whiteboard (or blackboard).

    This is the transparent and foolproof system. The teachers making up the Board of Election Inspectors signed the precinct’s election result that was transmitted to the canvassing and consolidation centers. The rival parties and the authorized election watchdog also got a copy of this signed certificate–and witnesses saw it.

    All in all the worst in terms of length of time this process took–from the time voters lined up to vote, then filled their ballots in secret, deposited their filled ballots into the ballot box, and the BEI teachers did the manual “taras” counting, accomplished and signed the certificates–was from morning to midnight.

    Now, how about the Smartmatic Automated Election System using the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines?

    Voters still line up for three or four hours before they could get their ballots. They took the same times as before to shade their ballots’ ovals. Then they feed the ballots into the PCOS.

    The speed in the Smartmatic AES-PCOS system is in the counting. This is done in the bowels of the PCOS machine. No one sees whether the machine counts the shaded ovals correctly or not. Then the machine creates the results. No one can witness how the machine added the votes. Lines on the ballots caused by bad inking or defective paper appear inside the machine and cause votes to be added or entire ballots to be invalidated.

    The precinct total count result created inside the machine does not have the BEI’s signature. They, the teachers, would not be able to say anyway that the count is correct or not. These results are sent out to the canvassing and consolidation centers by the PCOS machine–according to the coded instruction it has in its software card. This can, however, be tampered with by IT experts who know the codes, thanks to being Smartmatic contractual or permanent employees.

    None of the safeguards demanded by the Automated Election Law is complied with!

    There is no transparency in the precinct-level assessment of ballots and in the counting of votes as shown in the shaded ovals. Election protests can hardly advance because there is no paper trail.

    This is the reason more than a dozen countries–including sophisticated and high-tech Germany have dropped their Smartmatic-like automated systems and reverted to manual precinct level counting. As has Australia and some 20 or so countries. Britain, for all its being one of the world’s most highly developed industrial, technological and IT countries, has never used automated election systems. Precinct level ballot assessment and counting is manual there–because that is the only way the legal and emotional demands requirement of transparency can be satisfied.

    Former Comelec Chair Brillantes succeeded in making most of our powerholders believe that it is wrong to go back to manual counting in the precincts.

    It is clear that PCOS machines have hardly reduced the time for final election results to be known. For the three or four hours saved at the precinct by the PCOS machines unwitnessed, untransparent counting of votes, disappear at the canvassing and consolidation centers. For it is in these centers where dagdag-bawas (adding-shaving of numbers) happens.

    Brillantes’ unethical, suspect–even corrupt– stand is backed by President Aquino and his allies.

    Why?

    Because with the Smartmatic AES and the PCOS machines, the Aquino Gang will be able to control the election results FOREVER!

    The best system –as explained by experts–is manual counting witnessed by all in the precincts. Then the precinct results–certified as true and correct by the BEI teachers, and recorded publicly–are to be immediately sent electronically to the canvassing and consolidation centers.

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    5 Comments

    1. Elmer de Guzman on

      A lot of those against computerized election counting is really very primitive in outlook or have an ulterior motive for it. Computers are the best and most accurate in counting anything.. Why do you think we have the Visa/Mastercard/Amex system adapted worldwide in recording financial transactions? It is fast and accurate. Those who fear this kind of system or PCOS are those who want to cheat. They can’t do a “dagdag bawas” if the system is too fast for them.
      REPLY–Except that in the use of PCOS in the 2010 and 2013 elections nobody saw how the PCOS machine read the ballots and counted the ballots inside the belly of the machine. In the ATM system and even in the credit-card processing in stores and restaurants, you get a receipt and can see if the total is right or wrong. With the PCOS machine did you get a record of your vote, sir Elmer? Hopw did it happen that some PCOS machines transmitted to the Canvassing and Consolidation Centers total vptes exceeding the number of voters in the precinct or precinct clusters? More advanced countries than the Philippines–Germany, Australia among abut 15 others–reverted to manual voting and counting in the precincts because they had problems with their PCOS or similar machines like us here: NO TRANSPARENCY, no records.

    2. Manual precinct counting and computer tabulation of all precinct votes is the correct method. It is transparent and the tabulation results can be easily verified. We do not need hidden counting of votes.

    3. Ruben V. Calip on

      Pray that the Comelec Commissioners become more Godly and ban the PCOS machines so we can have honest and transparent electiions.

    4. If almost all 1st world countries are shying away from electronic voting, why is a 3rd world country as the Philippines still insist to stand bye the same system. Answer – easy and more money for Comelec thieves and more fabricated purchase of Smartmatic, the questionable supplier who has no license to sell programs.

    5. The PCOS is P-Noys’s master cheating machine. Like a hacked computer only the hacker knows and God. The PCOS machines represent the modern electoral fraud to fool the people. God forbiD that it will be used again. It is the evolution of fraudulent elections in the electoral history of our country. Before electoral fraud were localized by the regional politicians, now with the PCOS machines, it is a national monopoly.