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Sunday, August 30, 2009

The New Poll Automations Procedures in 2010 vs the Old System

Ang kaalaman pong ito ay mula kay Paula Aberasturi na dumalo naman sa Harvard Business School's Electoral Reform and Poll Automation Forum. Narito po ang praktikal na kaalaman tungkol sa napag-usapan at ibinigay ng COMELEC at ng kanilang technical team tungkol sa 2010 elections.

Previous procedure for voting:

1. Board of Election Inspectors will read the ballot aloud and the votes are manually counted and tallied on an Election Return. BOEs are composed of a Chairman, a poll clerk, and 2 reps from dominant parties.

2. From the precinct, the ballot boxes are transported physically to the municipal canvassing center.

3. Election Returns from the different precincts are sent to Board of Canvassers (Municipal/City) who will again manually canvass the votes. They issue a Municipal Certificate of Canvass. Tabulated results from the Municipal COC are Provincial COCs. The COC is supported by a Statement of Votes.

4. COCs and Statement of Votes are sent to the National Board.

5. The procedure lasts more than 72 hours.

6. Tampering, misreading of names, dagdag-bawas, miscounting of tally marks, wrong entries on the ER, lost ballots/boxes, substitution of election returns and Statement of Votes, are usually done during the manual canvassing and transport of these documents.

Procedures under the 2010 Elections Poll Automation:

COMELEC stated: "There will be NO failure in elections. Flow will be continuous and there will be no impediment to a proclamation."


1. Precincts will be clustered to 5 precincts per cluster or 1000 voters per precinct. 10-15 people can vote at the same time. There will be two poll watchers from Citizens' Arms per cluster.

2. Ballot boxes will now be transparent.

3. The official ballot will already print the names of all candidates. Thus there will be 1630 versions of the ballots with over 30,000 candidates.

4. Voter will only have to shade the oval blanks.

5. Voting will begin at 7AM and will end at 6PM.

6. At 6PM, the PCO machines will be closed, and will automatically start counting.

7. Eight copies of the Election Returns will be printed.

8. Election Returns from the precinct will be delivered physically AND transmitted electronically to the Municipal/City Board of Canvassers, the COMELEC central server, dominant parties, Citizen's Arms. Advanced results will be available.

9. Statement of Votes from the Municipal/City Board of Canvassers will be delivered physically AND transmitted electronically to the Provincial BOC, then to the National Board, the server, dominant parties, Citizen's Arms. Advanced results will be available.

As you can see, there is no room for misreading, miscounting or wrong entries on the returns and SOVs. All the canvassing is done electronically. Results are also immediately available at every stage.

Some facts on the PCO machines to be used for the 2010 Elections:

1. Transmission only takes 2 minutes.

2. If there is a breakdown, there are spare PCOs or ballot/results can be manually counted as in the old system.

3. PCOs are protected by password, pin, digital signatures and 128 bit encryption.

4. They will conduct testing of the PCO's and will make it available for trial (2 machines in NCR) and mock elections 2 months before election.

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