Poll watchdog wants security features back
A political watchdog Thursday called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to restore the security features of the voting machines to be used in next year’s polls, or else face lawsuits before the Supreme Court and the Office of the Ombudsman.
At a press conference, the leaders of the Reform Coalition Philippines (RCP) led by former Manila councilor Greco Belgica and former Biliran Rep. Glenn Chong signed a petition urging the Comelec and its automation service provider, Smartmatic Corp., to obey the security provisions of the Automated Election Systems (AES) Law.
“The honesty… and credibility of our elections are not what the Comelec and Smartmatic say [they are] but how [they are] perceived by the people, whose votes are what the Comelec is bound to give meaning to,” Belgica said.
RCP also called for the restoration of the ultraviolet ballot verification features to prevent the use of fake ballots and the preloading of spurious votes in the compact flash cards found on each vote count machine.
The group also sought the installation of a voter verified paper audit trail system to assure the voter that his vote had been correctly counted by the voting machine.
The RCP called for the return of digital signatures so that all transmitted election results may be authenticated, and prevent the transmission of fake results by hacking.
To ensure the integrity of the automated elections system, the coalition asked for an independent review, testing and forensic examination of the source code, or the encrypted programs that run the counting machines.
“We demand a truly honest election by faithfully complying with the provisions of the AES Law (through) effective restoration of the major security features,” the petition said.
The RPC said the credibility of the 2016 elections “are again seriously threatened by the very same controversial removal… of the AES security features and the flagrant violations of our laws by those entrusted with [their] conduct.”
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