Automated Election: Are we ready?
The Malacañang's Department of Budget and Management produce the P11.9 billion supplemental budget for this coming election which will be automated. Christian Monsod has been explaining how the Open Election System method of automation works.
“Monsod stressed that the proposed OES-based automated election system, combined with an optical mark recognition (OMR) technology, could cost government about P8 billion for the equipment and operations. If Comelec prefers getting the OES automated election system alone, it will cost around P4 billion."
And he added that "The choice of automation technology and its successful implementation is key to the credibility of the elections."
What was really the "Automated Election"?
Based on the Senate Bill No. 2231: (13th Congress) which entitled:
AN ACT AMENDING REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8436, ENTITLED AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS TO USE AN AUTOMATED ELECTION SYSTEM IN THE MAY 11, 1998 NATIONAL OR LOCAL ELECTIONS AND IN SUBSEQUENT NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTORAL EXERCISES, TO ENCOURAGE TRANSPARENCY, CREDIBILITY, FAIRNESS AND ACCURACY OF ELECTIONS, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE BATAS PAMBANSA BLG. 881, AS AMENDED, REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7166 AND OTHER RELATED ELECTIONS LAWS, PROVIDING FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
On section 2 on the said article defines the automated election system as:
A system using appropriate technology for voting, counting, consolidating, canvassing, transmission of election results and other processes in the conduct of electoral exercises.
Equipments or components that are being used for Automated Election:
- Counting machine - a machine that uses an optical scanning mark-sense reading
- Data storage device - a device used to electronically store counting and device of any similar advanced technology to count ballots; canvassing results, such as, memory pack or diskette;
- Computer set - a set of equipment containing regular components, i.e., monitor, central processing unit or CPU, keyboard and printer;
- National Ballot - refers to the ballot to be used in the automated election system for the purpose of the May 1998 elections. This shall contain the names of the candidates for president, vice-president, senators and parties, organizations or coalitions participating under the party-list system;
This ballot shall be counted by the counting machine:
- Local Ballot - refers to the ballot on which the voter will manually write the names of the candidates of his/her choice for member of the House of Representatives, governor,vice-governor, members of the provincial board, mayor, vice-mayor, and members of the city municipal council.
- Board of Election inspector - there shall be a Board of Election Inspectors in every precinct composed of three (3) regular members who shall conduct the voting, counting and recording of votes in the polling place.
Many questions and complains arise from this issue such as:
- How reliable can be the automated election system be?
Some people said that anything that is being done through computerized would be easier to falsify.
- In the side of indigenous people it would be hard for them to vote if the election will be done automatically because some of them are illiterate.
Advantages of the system to this coming 2010 election:
- There will be no ballot box snatching as the ERs are transmitted electronically for canvassing
- There is less work for the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI)
- If all precincts are connected, national results can be produced within one hour after the close of voting
- There is automated tally of votes at the city/municipal level
- The DRE can include an automated voter validation system
- Canvassing at the city/municipal and provincial levels is almost instantaneous
- There is an instantaneous tally of votes at the precinct level
- Ballots are pre-printed and voters simply mark choices