Thursday, September 02, 2010

Prospects for automating the Philippine elections in 2013 and 2016

Given the turnout of the Philippine's first automated elections in 2010, some would assume that the national and local elections in 2013 and possibly 2016 will likewise be automated.

Suppliers of the automated election system used in the Philippines seem to have a lock on again supplying the country with an automated election system.  

Even as it eyes bigger projects around Asia, Smartmatic may be busy trying to lock the government in to buying the automated counting machines the Philippines used and thereby be somewhat guaranteed of becoming the provider for the automated elections in 2013, since the PCOS and CCS will not work with any other system.

Despite having somewhat helped President Aquino achieve what is touted a mostly clean win, there are senators and congressmen who are still looking at some crucial project implementation issues that cropped up on the eve of the Philippine May 2010 elections.

One was an error in programming the Compact Flash Cards which, during a test run, produced error laden results -- being programmed to read forms with coordinates in double space, rather than single space.  

Another issue that cropped up was that the machine's time date stamp, apparently, could be reprogrammed or reset on election day.  This somewhat wrought havoc on the documentation it was supposed to generate, making the time and date stamp on the reports it printed subject of much doubt and raised the bogey of possible automated cheating -- since the printed records it generated, being erroneous, could not be used for any legal contest that could ensue in an electoral protest.

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