IN THE KNOW: Automated Election Law
Republic Act No. 9369, which amended the Automated Election Law, was passed on Jan. 23, 2007 “to encourage transparency, credibility, fairness and accuracy of elections.”
Section 6 of the law states the minimum system capabilities that the automated election system must have. Among those is the provision for a voter verified paper audit trail. The system should also provide the voter a system of verification to find out whether or not the machine has registered his choice.
The law also requires a system that would provide supporting documentation for verifying the correctness of reported election results, and provide for the safekeeping, storing and archiving of physical or paper resource used in the election process.
Under the law, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) shall develop and adopt an evaluation system to ascertain that the minimum system capabilities are met in the procurement of the system.
The first fully automated elections in the Philippines was held on May 10, 2010. After voters filled out machine-readable ballots, precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines leased from Smartmatic Corp. for P7.2 billion were used to record, count and transmit the votes to canvassing centers where the votes were automatically added up.
But the country’s first automated elections were hounded by glitches such as errors in the compact flash cards containing the list of voters and candidates; the breakdown of some machines that resulted in delays in transmitting results to canvassing centers; and the failure of built-in ultraviolet mark readers in the PCOS machines to read the security marks on the ballots. Almi Ilagan-Atienza, Inquirer Research
Sources: Comelec website, Inquirer Archives
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