Thursday, May 6, 2021

Drop the PCOS machines or have an ‘exception process’


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AS experts, like our columnist Lito Averia, have been explaining for years now, the Comelec’s very expensive PCOS machines rejected hundreds of thousands of ballots that were not counted manually and recorded.

This means that hundreds of thousands of voters were disenfranchised–their votes were never counted, they were in a sense deprived of life by the PCOS machines.

The PCOS machines were the “beings” that decided that ballots filed by completely good registered voters were invalid.

As a result, not only were hundreds of thousands officially killed–erased from the voters’ list as far as their votes went–but losing candidates who protested could not have the ballots counted to see if in fact they were the winners.

That means an injustice was committed.  An evil deed was done against our democracy.

Lito Averia says, “The Comelec and Smartmatic-TIM should have provided a process that would have enabled the BEIs to count the votes and incorporate the resulting count with the PCOS count.
“In information technology practice, such a process is referred to as ‘exception handling process.’


“System and software designers and developers take into consideration the established processes, rules, and guidelines that define the system planned for automation.  Designers and developers also try, to the extent possible, to identify exceptional events that may arise so that the exception handling processes can be designed and incorporated in the system.  An exception handling process is one that is designed to enable automated system operators and end users to properly respond to exceptional events.

“The PCOS is a multi-function machine.  Its functions, among others, include:

(1) as a data entry machine that allows voters to enter votes using paper ballots,

(2) as a vote counting machine that interprets the marks on the ballot and tallies the votes,

(3) as a report generator used to produce the election returns from the vote tally, and

(4) as a transmission machine that enables the BEI to electronically transmit the precinct election results to a canvassing server, the central server, and the transparency server.

“Exception handling processes were provided in the event of failure in any of the PCOS functions.  If the machine failed to count the votes or to generate the election returns, the exception handling process involved the use of a nearby PCOS to count the votes and generate the election return.  If the PCOS failed to transmit the results, a nearby PCOS may be used to transmit the results or the CF card may be transported to the canvassing center where the precinct election results would be uploaded from the CF card to the canvassing server.

“In the case of PCOS ballot rejection, the exception handling process simply required the BEIs to mark the PCOS rejected ballots as such and place them in a folder provided for the purpose.”

Here comes the grave decision to be unjust.

“The votes in the ballots rejected by the PCOS machines in the 2010 and 2013 elections were never counted.”

If the Comelec is really bound to using the PCOS machines again in 2016, then it should at least introduced the “exception handling process.”

But first, the Comelec must declare that PCOS rejected ballots are to be treated as valid ballots.

Then, Averia suggests correctly, “an exception handling process that would enable the BEI to count the votes and incorporate the resulting count with the PCOS count must be defined.”



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