PCOS testing in Pasay City successful — Comelec
MANILA, Philippines – The final testing and sealing (FTS) of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines in a school in Pasay City Thursday were successful, Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said.
Brillantes observed the FTS process in Gotamco Elementary school, Pasay City where there were at least 20 PCOS machines for the precinct.
“I don’t expect any problems in this precinct. I don’t expect any problems in this entire district of Pasay, and I don’t expect any in the entire country,” Brillantes told reporters.
Thursday’s FTS in Pasay was only the first of the testing that will last up to May 10. Brillantes said that the bulk of the testing throughout the country will be on May 6.
The FTS would determine if the PCOS would accept the ballots and whether the automated count would match a full manual count of the ballots.
Geraldine Milo, chairman of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs), said that the PCOS was “100 percent accurate” in the counting.
She said there was one minor incident in the manual counting where there was an overvote in the local position. Overvoting will render all the votes for a certain position void in the PCOS machine and should not have been counted in the manual count.
The FTS included 10 test ballots filled up by other BEIs and lasted for about two hours, Milo said.
“The FTS is finished. The PCOS will be returned to the library for storage and safekeeping until Election Day,” she said.
The transmission did not need to be tested because they were within Metro Manila, she said.
Brillantes hit back at former Comelec commissioner Augusto Lagman anew for criticisms that there will be differences in the manual count and the automated count by saying that the allegations are misleading.
“The [automated and manual count] cannot always match because the machine is a perfect counter and it is a scanner that measures the threshold [of shading],” Brillantes said.
The PCOS can detect up to a 50 percent threshold of shading. If an oval on a ballot is shaded less than 50 percent, it would not be counted by the machine. A person on the other hand, cannot tell if an oval was shaded just at 40 or 49 percent, he said.
“When a person looks at what the PCOS counted there will always be a discrepancy, because the way a machine and a person looks [at the ballot] are not the same; the machine is programmed [while] a person [just] looks on,” Brillantes said.
“It can never be perfect,” he added.
The PCOS machines are required to be 99.995 percent accurate under the poll automation law and the contract between Comelec and Smartmatic, the provider of the PCOS machines.
The random manual audit after the first automated elections in 2010 had shown an accuracy rate of 99.6 percent while in a mock election held in Congress last July 2012 the accuracy rate was 97.215 percent.
Brillantes said “99.7 percent is very high for human appreciation, almost perfect.”
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