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Of Honest Elections And Fears Of Automated Cheating in 2010

March 11, 2009

monsod-on-automated-polls

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20090310-193339/Monsod-warns-Comelec-of-automated-cheating

Fourteen months and counting before the 2010 elections, the public debate pendulum is swinging between just who the viable, and worthy candidates are and just how the balloting will be conducted.

For the wannabees, the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy is November 30.

But ahead of that, equally crucial is the window for the Commission of Elections to select a competent automated elections systems provider in a bidding devoid of any suspicions of rigging and overpricing.

Once the systems provider is chosen, the nationwide technical infrastructure, inclusive of the ICT backbone for the 2010 polls must be installed and fully operational well ahead of May 10, 2010.

It is against this backdrop that the warning of citizens like Atty. Christian Monsod cannot be ignored.

In marathon discussions yesterday the COMELEC approved the Terms of Reference for the bidding of the mission-critical Automated Election System (AES)  as mandated by Republic Act 9369.

http://www.senate.gov.ph/republic_acts/ra%209369.pdf

This corner submits that is is now imperative for the poll body to supervise a fully transparent, and voter-experience -validated demonstration of what technology will be deployed, and just the balloting will be done from start to finish.

From the use of precinct level coded optical-for-shading scan ballots or touch-screen voting terminals to the scanning-canvass and consolidation of election results,

automated-voting-gadgetsoptical-ballot-scanners

optical-scan-ballots

Filipinos need to be fully convinced the the technology will be foolproof, from fools and such vagaries as power outages, extreme weather conditions but most of all data tampering to and from the transmission points.

The Philippines is entering a brave new world in the next elections. It is not just the cost of PhP 11.3-B riding on thie exercise, but the very future of our society.

There is only one way for the COMELEC, for us, to do this:

THE RIGHT WAY.

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