Source code of vote machines not yet with Smartmatic – Comelec
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has reported being 90 percent ready to conduct the May 13 balloting, and said the lack of source code for the voting machines was the only problem left unsettled.
The Comelec’s technology provider Smartmatic has yet to obtain the source code from the Dominion Voting Systems.
“We are practically ready. I think it should be over 90 percent by now. This is a work in progress and we are already in the finishing stage,” said Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. in an interview with reporters.
Brillantes said that compared to the first time automated elections were conducted in 2010, the Comelec this time appeared to be ahead in its preparations for the May 13 balloting.
As part of its preparations, the Comelec has issued to its contractors notices to proceed with the delivery of ballot boxes; set up the transmission services and modems; established the National Support Center; delivered the compact flash cards, thermal paper, marking pens and toner; and shipped election equipment and paraphernalia to the regions.
But Brillantes admitted the Comelec was uncertain about getting the source code for the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines since Smartmatic and Dominion had yet to reach an agreement on its release despite the Comelec’s mediation. He disclosed the two parties had clashed over certain portions of the agreement, specifically over “monetary issues.”
Frustrated, Brillantes said he would write a letter this week to the lawyers of the two warring firms and set a deadline to settle the issue of the source code.
“I’m sending my e-mail to both Smartmatic and Dominion’s US lawyers and I’ll say by within the week and if we don’t get any response, we will just say ‘it’s finished,’” said the poll chief.
Earlier, Brillantes assured the public the automated elections would push through despite the lack of a certified source code.
The source code is the human-readable representation of the instructions that regulate the operation of the computer that will scan and count the ballots, among other things.
“It is a requirement of the law but we can justify why there’s no certified source code also under the law,” he had said.
The Poll Automation Law provides that a source code review must be conducted on the automated election system and the code must be held in escrow in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
It also states that the source code reviewed should be “one and the same as that used by the precinct count optical scan machines.”
In 2012, Smartmatic filed a case against Dominion in Florida over the latter’s alleged breach of a licensing agreement and “tortuous” interference in Smartmatic’s business.
The Comelec’s 2010 technology provider had also accused Dominion of withholding its technology and services that had been licensed to it.
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