By The Editorial Board | Daily Tribune
During the late night Friday meeting of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino, President Rody Duterte said elections will be held next year to debunk the canard being peddled by his usual critics.
In his speech before his partymates, Rody vowed the elections next year to be clean and assured the public votes will be counted correctly.
Counting the votes correctly as Rody wanted will have to mean a review of the government’s contract with Venezuelan automated poll system provider Smartmatic.
The alleged automated fraud that happened in the previous elections and the glitches associated with the vote counting machines (VCM) should not be allowed to happen in next year’s and other future elections.
Rody indicated his determination to make the elections credible.
In his speech, Rody said public interest must be preserved and protected at all costs in the electoral process.
A report in the state of Nevada said the estranged partner of Smartmatic, Dominion Voting Systems, is now under probe for several machine glitches in June primary election.
A Reno Gazette Journal review of public records, according to the Associated Press, found more than 300 reported machine malfunctions across the state.
“The software hiccups contributed to a double-voting snafu that forced officials to call a rare special election in July for the office of Clark County public administrator in Las Vegas,” it noted.
The report said the machine operator blamed human error for many glitches “but post-election reports showed well over 100 hardware malfunctions statewide, ranging from printer jams and frozen screens to power failures.”
“Voters and poll workers in 10 counties, including Washoe and Clark, reported mechanical problems while inserting, removing and using the smart cards needed to load candidate choices and cast ballots,” the report added.
“Counting the votes correctly as Rody wanted will have to mean a review of the government’s contract with Venezuelan automated poll system provider Smartmatic.
The Reno newspaper obtained reports that voters in 11 of Nevada’s 17 counties reported voting machine malfunctions that omitted candidates or presented poll-goers with the wrong ballot.
The report stated voters also complained to poll workers about ballots already filled out at the voting booth and problems with “smart cards” needed to access upgraded voting tablets.
It is startling that the experiences in Nevada were a repeat of what the nation went through in the previous automated polls.
The equipment glitches in the US are significant since the Smartmatic machines the Commission on Elections (Comelec) purchased run with the same software provided by Dominion since the 2010 polls.
Under the Automated Election System Law, the software should go through source code reviews and certifications by an international certification entity prior to the elections. The source codes should also be opened to accredited local groups and organizations.
In the run-up to the 2013 polls, the Smartmatic equipment which were then called Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines had the source code review delayed by a legal tussle between Dominion and Smartmatic.
The Comelec finally received the PCOS source code a few days before actual voting, resulting in the review only by representatives of the two dominant political parties and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting.
The Comelec is planning to start this month the local source code review for the VCM using the same Smartmatic machines.
The Comelec had acquired the 97,517 VCM units used in the 2016 polls for P2.1 billion and plans to use these for next year’s mid-term elections.
What Rody clearly said was that all votes will be “correctly” counted that may be difficult to fulfill based on the nation’s long experience with the questionable Smartmatic machines.