The Manila Times – Who cares about supporting transparency to win?

By Nelson Celis | The Manila Times

Last of 4 parts

This fourth and final part on election transparency presents the last nine of the 13 options for election systems for the 2022 elections as brainstormed by a group of election watchdogs.

Option 5: Hybrid election system (HES) as described in Senate Bill (SB) 7 (now dubbed SB 1950). Section 8: Counting of votes to be public. “…the board of election inspectors (BEIs) shall publicly count in the polling place the votes cast and ascertain the results….;” Section 9. Election Returns. “The BEIs shall prepare the election returns (ERs) simultaneously with the counting of votes in the polling places as prescribed in Section 210 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 881. The recording of votes shall be made as prescribed in the said section…;” Section 10. Digital Election Returns. “Simultaneous to the counting of the votes and the filling out of the ERs, there shall be an independent technician who shall enter the votes, as they are counted, into the digital spread sheet, which shall serve as the Digital Election Return, in a laptop provided for the purpose, which spreadsheet shall also be projected on a screen while the entries are recorded in real time for the watchers to validate and the public to see.” Projection is used for public viewing as the usual ‘tally board’ in the past manual elections is not allowed (Section 12). Thus, Option 5 follows CCF principle.

Option 6: Same as Option 5 except that the encoding into the digital spread sheet is done after public counting and generation of the manual ER.

Option 7: Pure manual elections. Same as the voting and counting processes before the 2010 automated elections. It may be noted that the elections in 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2007 elections were not automated in spite of the prevailing Automated Election System (AES) Law. This option is naturally transparent.

Option 8: Same as Option 1 except that the VVPATs are counted manually to verify the machine count and that the ER manually prepared is compared with ER generated by the machine. Projection of ballots is optional and that the memory card contents are made public. Thus, Option 8 follows the CCF principle.

Option 9: Use of Filipino technologies like Best Open Source Election System (Boses). This was presented during the Technology Fair of the CAC through the DICT on July 26, 2017.
Boses is an enhanced version of Transparency Election System (Tapat):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwZhgFQa05k&t=4s. The system is programmable and follows CCF principle.

Option 10: Same as Option 4 except that there’s manual ER generation and that the contents of the memory card are made public. This option follows CCF principle.

Option 11: Same as Option 1 except that the VCM computer program is coded by Filipinos. This option is not transparent as election results processed are not made public.

Option 12: VCM program is coded by Filipinos, there’s manual counting of votes and ER generation, and memory card contents are made available for stakeholders. This follows CCF principle.

Option 13: Comelec Commissioner Casquejo’s version of hybrid system was also presented during the Technology Fair in 2017. VVPAT’s barcode is scanned and verified manually by BEIs with the ballot appreciated by VCM. The ER generated by VCM may not be reflective of the counted votes. Thus, this option is not fully transparent.

For the 13 options analyzed, all of these shall still be using electronic transmission and automated consolidation and canvassing system (CCS). And for the recommendation of the election watchdogs, they endorse Option 5 for the 2022 elections. Else, Option 7 would be the next best possible option just like what Germany did when they reverted back to the manual system. They also recommend that the CCS developed in-house by Comelec and the Department of Science and Technology be used for the 2022 elections.

What about you? Do you want the 2022 elections to be transparent? What’s your choice?

(This initially was a three-part series but has been extended to this fourth one. The series started Dec. 16, 2020 at https://www.manilatimes.net/2020/12/16/opinion/columnists/topanalysis/who-cares-about-supporting-transparency-to-win/811644/)

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