Monday, September 21, 2009

On Automated Election

In his column, There’s The Rub, Conrado de Quiros on 09/21/09 wrote, So far the criticisms of Smartmatic by the candidates have centered on the physical or visible part—the length of the electoral forms, the distribution of the right forms to the right place, the ability of the machines to transmit accurately the results of the voting. The real nightmare in fact is the software, which is proprietary, or the workings of which are known only to Smartmatic. As the IT people have shown, it’s the easiest thing in the world to imbed errant commands in the software that function like malware. These can be imbedded variously in the BIOS, the motherboard, the operating system, the flash card, or all of the above. Commands that will tick off votes for one candidate to another, which will make Garci look like a veritable saint.

I thought that Mr. James Jimenez, Spokesman for Comelec did an excellent presentation at the De La Salle University de las Alas Auditorium on the upcoming election automation last 09/18/09. My conclusion was if all is done on the up and up, we couldn’t ask for anything more regarding vote count efficiency.

But, as Mr. Quiros pointed out, there is the possibility that the software known only to Smartmatic could already contain imbedded malicious commands that will tick of votes from one candidate to another. He suggests switching to an open, transparent, inexpensive and automated electoral count like the Open Electoral System, though the Supreme Court had already ruled in favor of Smartmatic. Otherwise, Mr. Quiros predicted that the next president will be Secretary Gilbert Teodoro of the Ruling Party.

I do not know whether there is still time to make a switch or if this is the advisable thing to do or of not, but I know this: Should there be a significant difference between what the surveys will show a week or so before election day and the official final vote count, all hell will break loose in Pinoyland. Chaos will warrant declaration of martial law - which means GMA wins. UNLESS.

Unless, the electoral process will require the Final Election Returns Report to be submitted by the National Board of Canvassers to Congress be accompanied by an Audited Final Election Returns issued by an independent CPA firm or an election watchdog such as NAMFREL which states that the FERR by the NBC presents fairly the results of the just concluded national elections. For example, such audit will require manual count of ballots fed into the Smartmatic leased Precinct Count Optical Scan machine in say, 5% or about 4,000 clustered precincts chosen in random .


  1. Interesting post. Everybody really talks about Automation. Anyway, I enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for sharing this. Keep posting!


  2. Pia - thanks for stopping by and commenting on the blog post. Hope to see you more.