Friday, January 22, 2010

Automated Election in the Philippines

NOTWITHSTANDING the minute problems with the country's preparation for its first automated elections, Bohol Commission of Election (Comelec) Supervisor and lawyer Eliseo Labaria is confident lights still a green.

Speaking at the weekly Kapihan sa PIA, Atty. Labaria said that apart from nearly half of the Precinct Count Optical Scanner (PCOS) to be delivered yet and the trainings for technicians delayed, the move to fully automate the country's electoral system is in full steam.

The historic move to change from the manual to automated system will hasten the process and assure us credible results eliminating the insinuations of fraud, he claimed.

According to research, the longest time for national manual elections to declare a winner was 42 days whereas in the automation, winners are declared quickly as the transmission of results are done automatically.

Erasing all doubts about a bug or a program error, the poll office top man said in requests of recall, the local authorities can proceed to manually count the ballots, if there are questions about the electronic counting.

He said the PCOS copies the ballots optically and stores them in the PCOS databanks so a digital counting can be facilitated.

Over the threats of power outage, Atty. Labaria revealed that the PCOS come with a backup power through a battery that can last from 12 to 14 hours, more than sufficient to cover for the 11-hour voting and counting time it would need for the automated elections in the precincts.

"That provision is for areas where there are no power connections and electricity," he stressed.

By February, Atty Labaria said, local COMELEC would start the trainings and the information dissemination in Bohol.

He also assured voters and the teachers who would handle their poll duty that the PCOS would be very user friendly and easy to use even as he said interest groups have already tied up with them to help in the information campaign.

Pending the COMELEC guidelines, information officer Juvenal Beniga also assures that they would put up the usual aired information drives at the Comelec Hour on Bohols top radios. (PIA)

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