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Comelec: Software issue delaying ballot printing ‘a blessing in disguise’

/ 04:10 PM February 08, 2016
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Vote counting machines are stored at the Comelec warehouse in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.  INQUIRER PHOTO

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Andres Bautista described the software issue in the Consolidation and Canvassing System (CCS), one of the programs that will be used in the automated election system (AES), as a “a blessing in disguise” despite the fact that the glitch forced the poll body to delay the printing of ballots anew.

At a televised press briefing, Bautista said that the problem in the CCS will allow the Comelec to have a shorter ballot which will give more savings and will result to faster elections.

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On Monday, it was announced that a problem in transmission in the CCS was found, pushing the Comelec to redo the process of getting the trusted build of the Election Management System (EMS).

The EMS is responsible for the design of the ballot.

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“It turns out to be a blessing in disguise because we now have more flexibility in designing the ballot face that will enable us to have a shorter ballot,” Bautista said.

“A shorter ballot is beneficial in several respects. First, (it is beneficial) in terms of cost, in terms of paper, in terms of ink. Also (it is beneficial) in terms of the speed of the machine—in accepting the ballot and producing the image. A shorter ballot will mean that we will conduct our elections faster,” he added.

The trusted build is the firmware which will be used in the final configuration of the machines, final design of the ballots, as well as the data that will be used for the AES.

Commissioner Christian Robert Lim said that redoing the process for the trusted build for the EMS will render the source code previously deposited in escrow at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) void.

“Since the CCS and EMS have a shared code, then any change (in the CCS) may affect the EMS. We just want to make sure that it is compatible,” Lim said.

The commissioner, who is also the one in-charge for the 2016 polls, said that the the delay in the printing of ballots will be beneficial for voters on Election Day.

“On our part, we want to make sure that the firmware we will use…that we are absolutely sure that it will work on Election Day. If it will disrupt a bit the timelines, we’d rather take it than finding out on Election Day that something’s wrong,” Lim said.

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Bautista said that the delay in printing of ballots will not equate to the postponement on elections.

The Comelec chair said that the new schedule for the printing of ballots is on Monday or Tuesday next week.

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TAGS: Automated Election System, ballot, Ballot Printing, Comelec, Consolidation and Canvassing System, Election Management System, elections featured, Elections2016, EMS, printing
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