Philippine Automated Elections

The successful Philippine Automated Elections is a delight to everybody involved in its completion.

This automated system was meticulously, and sometimes maliciously, dissected for all its purported worth by all the influences that be.

There is sweet relief in that the election is over, and a heavenly satisfaction that it was over in such a short time.

I could have said I told you so, pero makulit lang kayo, eh!

The COMELEC deserves a pat on the back for sticking to their guns, and the Smartmatic-TIM  deserves a tip of the hat for making do with what they have.

And for the group that made this automated system a success,

welcome to the automated-election club.

Hip, hip………..hooray! firework5

Multiple-Registered Voters


I did say the COMELEC was on a power trip when it set down more tangential election rules.

Now it has become paranoid when they start to shake in their boots upon realizing that there are millions of multiple-registered voters.

I say they should allay their fears and scratch down the athlete’s foot in their feet first before the shake.

These multiple-registered voters can vote only once! Isn’t this what the indelible ink on the finger is supposed to ensure?

Besides, a simple computer program could polish the national voters’ List to come up with a filtered version. Why, even a student in programming who knows how to program in basic can make a program that can do this. It won’t take a week to screen out these multiple registrants when this program is used.

Por ejemplo, (whatever that means), the program sorts out one name, Aaron B. Abacer. It then looks to the next name in Alpha order and comes across another name, Abacer, Aaron B., sorts out the same identical name and compares the rest of the data like so :

The program asks, do these two names have similar middle names such as B. for Baraco?

If so, do they have similar Dates of Birth? Same Birthplace, Same mother? Same father? Same sex? Same occupation? Same wife?

If any three of these items (forget the wife item) are similar, then the computer transfers this name to another ‘quarantined’ file called ‘duplicated registrants’, and so forth and so on. Of course, only that name with the latest registration date will remain on the ‘active’ file.

The same program will also sort out the registrants according to dates of birth,  or fathers, or mothers ,or birthplaces, or wives, ay forget the wives na lang. Magkakagulo pa!

(Simple lang yan! Hindi dapat ipangamba! Para kasi kayong iniihan ng pusa habang lumalapit na ang eleksiyon!)

The COMELEC  people are starting to act as if they themselves do not believe in automation!


Celebrity Endorsements

There is no concrete evidence to prove that endorsements of political candidates by celebrities has been the main factor for the former to get elected.  Ask the Americans if you will.

Celebrities do attract the voters to come and listen to the candidates who make their pitch for the votes. These voters do listen, and listen only. The bottom line is—- it is still the candidates’ woo that would influence their votes, not the celebrities. Isn’t this good for the country?

There is still a way to get around this law, if there really is such a law. The celebrities may go with the candidates. They would have a presence felt with the candidates. But they would not say anything that would be in line of asking peoiple to vote for the candidate. The celebrity would be assumed to be there for the moral support only, get it.

And as long as the ABS-CBN people do not use the facilities of ABS-CBN, or any of its equipment, to endorse or help a candidate’s campaign, he or she (and ABS-CBN) may not be guilty of politicking.

The Comelec, basking under the near flawless trial runs of the polling equipment, is being carried away by promulgating this celebrity endorsement thing with the stupor of euphoria and in the name of fairness.

If you ask me, the Comelec has done away with its being a nuisance—-it is now on a power trip.

(Heaven help those who gets tripped) face2

The Spectre of National Broadband

Now arises the growling need for a national broadband when the communications companies of Globe, Smart, PLDT threaten to throw a wrench on the automation project of Comelec in what is clearly a ploy for more money.

It should be realized that these companies would only TRANSMIT the data coming from the precints towards the Comelec Center. These companies will not even process the data. So whom are they kidding? They are just conduits.

The cell phone companies do only one thing to any data relayed to them : they log the user (or sender) and then counts down the time of cell phone usage. That’s it. They just count down your alloted time.

So what is their problem of security? Will they be attacked? Gosh, either they are giving themselves more credit than they deserve, or they are actually asking for combat pay!

These companies do realize NOW that Filipinos would rather spend money to communicate with phones than drink San Miguel beer.

Before, it was the other way around, remember?
Now these private companies have a strangle hold on the communications business.

(note that if there were no PLDT, nor Smart, nor Globe around, the records of the polls are still intact in several data capture methods and could just be transmitted by means other  than digital. So let them go to wherever!)


Cell Phone jammers

If the people who ordered this cell phone jamming equipment intend to use this to waylay the transmission of the poll results to the COMELEC, then these blokes are literally motukoys. The election of the candidates will not be done by cell phones! It will be done mechanically and then transmitted digitally! And then also, the transmission does not have to be wireless!

The election results are nested in the terminal/scanners thet were used, also in the reports that would be printed out and given to at least 8 people, and mainly in the ballots that were  tallied. To change the results, or even erase the results, they have to be in control of the machines, the printouts, and the official ballots. Cell phone jammers will not be able to control any of these. The jammers may be able to neutralize the data transmissions but so what, the results are still intact. Besides the effectivity of these jammers are limited by distance. The equipment has to be inside the precint to work. It can probably cause some annoyance to the Cell Phone Army of ABS-CBN, but then again, so what?

Listen, if these cell phone jammers are really effective, the US Army could have rampantly used these to jam the cell phone triggering devices to the IED’s in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ordering these jammers prove that the would-be cheaters on the next election are getting frantic in their effort to secure the election of their candidates.


Of Teachers and Automation

wizard1Automation, as the very name implies, cuts down the time, money and effort spent for specific chores. Why then do teachers dread this very word especially, but  more especially, if they have to get on with it untrained come election time.

I don’t think teachers have the phobia of computers. I don’t think they fear the keyboard. I don’t think they fear errors they will make in handling computers. I don’t think they are frightened of the pandora they are going to let out by a mere touch of a key. I don’t think they are afraid of making mistakes. I believe that they are afraid of not being able to correct the mistakes that they are bound to make.

Teachers are trained to teach the correct and rightful things so much so that they wouldn’t be able to correct any mistake they make in teaching. These are only a very few mistakes to say the most. Therefore they will be unable to correct mistakes that they might make in this election equipment, or so they think.

Then again they might not have gone through this sort of computer training before. This is a hands-on training in which they are taught to handle the keyboard in the correct manner and at the same time make corrections as they go along. They will learn the functions of the backspace, then scratch head, escape, then scratch back, delete, then drink more coffee, reboot, then finally to go to the bathroom to scream and pull on hair. This would be all in fun, particularly at that time when just about everybody has gone baldheaded.

All kidding aside, training on this equipment would take only half an hour. The rest of the day would be consumed in the familiarizing with the equipment, comelec procedures, bonding with the equipment, and consuming the baon in case Comelec is scroogy enough not to provide the teachers with free lunch.

The polling equipment is basically a counting equipment. The same results could of course be accomplished if everybody is provided a computer wherein he can go online and select their candidates to stick a vote on. It would be more convenient, however, for everybody concerned if a ballot is provided uniquely for each voter and let them shade out the circles corresponding to their chosen candidates. This ballot is then fed to a scanner which simultaneously reads and tallies the votes. This method would be as simple as selecting your numbers in a lottery card and having this card read by a terminal in some store. The ballot is considerably larger than a lottery entry card, of course. Why? Because the ballot has to have the names of the candidates on it in large print instead of mere numbers in a lotto card. And, as in a lotto card, the vote is tallied according to the position the shaded choice is in. The ballot scanner will tally the votes as regards to the position in the ballot the vote is shaded. This is why the ballot is rolled in for reading by the scanner.

And the teachers’ role in this election? Much of the work of the teacher is done by the equipment. And these are namely: counting the votes in the middle of the night, sorting out spoiled ballots, bundling these ballots and bringing these manually to the comelec receiving stations, reporting to the comelec the results of the precint, and also some voter validation procedures.

The bulk of the teachers’ work in this election would be the validation of the voters and the handing out of the ballot to each one, instructing them what to do as the ballot is handed over. The completed ballot would then be scanned by the voter under the teachers’ careful supervision. If a receipt of the votes are printed out, then the teachers check this and gives this receipt to the voter.  Easy as swallowing a long-tailed puto bumbong, no?

Standard election procedures would include having copies of eligible voters’ names , tacked on a wall by the precint door. These names would serve as the first voter screening for the precint. It also serves as an instruction as to which desk or counter the voter would go. The teacher on that desk or counter would then proceed to validate the identity of the voter and hand him the ballot. Simple, isn’t it? It would be as easy as swallowing a………I think I said that already.

At any rate, this election procedure  would not take the whole day for the teachers to learn. It might take a lunch  and several free snacks to finish, though.

If the teachers could still not learn the procedure within that time, they could of course ask for more time and more lunch and snacks at another training day.


 (Note that the above procedure is what I know and is proven to work for a lot of elections held elsewhere. The COMELEC may have a different and as-yet-unknown procedure. Do follow what the commissioners tell you to do. It can’t be that much different!)  

Piqued like children

Yep, the undaunted Comelec finally got piqued. It is announced that there will be an extension of the voters registration.

BUT, no extra ballots will be printed, adding that not 100% of those who registered will vote, anyway. Of all the childish remarks to say, this tops the book.

The comelec is saying, in minceful words, that they will accept new registrants but they will not print new ballots to accomodate them.

This would be expressing a similarly piqued gesture of putting up extra seats for the concert but not printing more tickets for the extra occupants. Or selling more tickets without putting up more seats to accomodate the extra people.

I was right, the Comelec IS a nuisance. face2

Comelec a nuisance

Yup, Comelec is starting to be a nuisance. Not a time has passed when they do not complain about not meeting deadlines because of registrations, registrations, registrations. Automation is supposed to make things faster but it appears that the Comelec is creating its own bottlenecks.

A new voters’ list does not have to be created just because the SC extended the registration to the legal deadline.  Doing so would create tremendous problems in re-sorting the list alphabetically and by addresses. All they have to do now is make another list called ‘late registrants  list’. This can be sorted out and then added to the list as a supplement. It only takes a second to think about this. Inuunahan kasi ng protesta bago gawa! Do it first before you complain.

And then, for reasons of space on the ballots, they rejected some applications for COC. This is not a valid reason. They also cannot reject applications from people whom they believe will not be able to mount a campaign. This is not an exercise of democracy, this is an act of playing God.

And then they call these rejects as nuisance candidates. Nuisance to whom? To the public? To the Voters, to the Govt, or to themselves. As far as I am concerned, these rejects may be a nuisance only to the Comelec. After all, it would be the Comelec who would be processing their applications and mount up their candidacies.

The Comelec is too lazy to work things out; and is  becoming a nuisance for bitching so much about work.

By the way, the term ‘Early Elections’ is a misnomer. The proper term for it is ‘Advanced Polling’  Not that they do not think like lawyers, but….


The referendum

face2Several years ago I did ask , in one of my posts somewhere along the way, whether the Comelec would include in the ballot forms the question that asks the people whether they would like to change the constitution or not.

It appears everything is heading for an inclusion of this question in the ballot forms.

The Source Code

The COMELEC  Members are not that engots to allow the source code for the automated election machines to be published on the web as other people want them to do.

Publishing this source code will be tantamount to doing away with the controls, screens, filters, and regulatory procedures by which the country is banking on for a clean election.

If people with dubious motives would learn of this source code, they could simply manufacture their own data for the results of the elections.

If confidence on the technical expertise of the COMELEC Members is the issue, then let the COMELEC Members select technical people who would act as their surrogates on automated election equipment.

Don’t you worry, Bayan, those who intend to cheat in the next elections would not even know how to cheat the equipment, as they themselves would not know which equipment to use for cheating.


Advanced Voting

I am frankly disappointed with the Melo Commission on Elections regarding what may be a futile effort to provide a solution with the large number of  voters eligible to vote in the 2010 elections. It is expected that there will be a very large voter turnout on that day, and that there will be chaos in the voting precints.

The Commission opted to extend the voting hours in an attempt to ease up the clogging at the polls. Perhaps there is a much better solution than an extension.

Any votation which is done AFTER the appointed election hours is not valid. It is not even legal. Votations BEFORE the appointed hours of election MAY BE LEGAL and VALID. This procedure is being done in all countries of the world, and is called ADVANCED VOTING.

Anybody and all the people that are unable to vote for some excusable reasons are allowed to vote ahead of the elections. Therefore, for the valid reason of preventing a bottleneck in the precints, advanced voting may be prescribed by the Comelec, for reasons of convenience.

In the case of the Philippine elections, any number of registered voters may be assigned a particular date and time to come and vote in advance and before the appointed election day. The list is mandatory to preserve the security purposes that the ink stains provide. Only the voters in the list may vote on that day. And then there will be another list on another day of voting.

The result is that the voters will vote in manageable numbers for two or more days!

No Problemo, eh! painter

ADVANCED VOTING…..everybody does it! Go Check!

Merging corps.

I do not believe a corporation which is still in the merging stage, or in formation for this matter, can enter into a valid contract with the Comelec.

If the contract was signed before they completed the merge, or before they were given a license to operate, then this contract is not valid.


The Smartmatic Tim will have to undergo another application to provide automation machines for the 2010 elections. The capitalization is strict, being 60-40. Proof of bank deposits is required.


Automated Election Machines

OY! I heard that the winning bid by Smartmatic TIM is P4 billion less than what has been budgeted by Comelec. Wuuups! This company must be thinking of fielding disposable adding machines on the field which are good for only a day’s work.

Even with the P11.3 billion set aside for this automation, I wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole.  This amount is equivalent to only $300 million cad. They must be neglecting the price for the servers and/or main computers to compile all these counts. The counting must be relying on printed journals and forms to be delivered by hand to the Comelec. One hub in Bulacan will take care of delivery of 84,000 machines with no service depot to deposit to. Which means delivery of these machines would be just about before the election starts.

I was thinking of rented service depots all over the country in close proximity to the precints, a  fleet of service/delivery trucks for maintenance, and top-flight and experienced foreign servicemen with Filipino electronics repairmen for the setup. Most of the votes tallied could be announced within 4 hours after the polls close. But this is the system I envisioned—talagang hindi madadaya! This will also cost more than what everybody had bid. This would initiate the country’s automated elections.

P11.3 billion pesos would not be enough. Sa inyo na lang iyan.


It might be enough if the bidding companies were merged into one to reduce overhead. But then again who would agree to this proposition?