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 Assignment 3 (Due: July 09, 2009, before 01:00pm)

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Edsa Fe Esio

Edsa Fe Esio

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PostSubject: Automated Election (assignment 3)   Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:02 am

Automated Election Reflection

...Automated Election…..

Automated election system — a system using appropriate technology for voting and electronic devices to count votes and canvass/consolidate results.

The conduct of elections in the Philippines for the past four decades has remained largely unchanged. Philippine elections rely heavily on manual tallying and canvassing of votes thus making them vulnerable to control and manipulation by traditional politicians and those with vested interests. The cost of winning an elective post is highly expensive, and the absence of mechanisms to check and limit sources of campaign funds become fertile grounds for corruption and divisiveness.
In recent years, initiatives to reform the electoral system included the enactment of the following laws: Republic Act (RA) 8046, establishing a pilot program modernizing the registration and vote counting process in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the Party List Law, Fair Elections Act and the Absentee Voting Act. To address the inadequacies and limitations of the electoral process, RA 8436 or the Election Automation Act of 1997, was passed authorizing the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to use automated election system for vote counting and canvassing in the national and local polls. The law provided for the generation of a national computerized voters list, establishment of a voters identification card system and the automation of the vote counting.
However, sectoral issues still hinder reform efforts in the electoral process. The following have been identified as basic problems afflicting the electoral system:
(a) outdated electoral process;
(b) failure to implement the electoral modernization law;
(c) limited administrative and
regulatory capabilities of the COMELEC;
(d) ineffective educational/information campaigns on new laws and policies;
(e) weak political party system;
(f) unaccountable political financing; and
(g) defective party list system (Governance Assessment, 2003).

...GOALS, STRATEGIES AND ACTION PLANS in Automated Election...

To ensure a credible and transparent electoral process, the modernization of the electoral system through computerization shall be supported to ensure the credibility of polls and correct the deficiencies in the electoral system. Likewise, the Omnibus Election Code shall be further revised and amended to respond to the needs of the present electoral system. Measures to strengthen the party system and regulate the activities of political parties shall be created. State financing of political parties shall also be considered through the passage of the Campaign Finance Bill.
The COMELEC’s capacity to raise the level of political discourse and educate citizens regarding their right to vote will be enhanced. This will be done through conduct of continuing citizen and voter education through partnership with civil society groups and other government institutions. The electorate must be empowered with information that would help them vote intelligently. The challenge is to develop the people’s appreciation of their vote as a means to reform the government and receive better services from it. Part of this challenge is the need to raise the awareness of the electorate on relevant issues and the corresponding platforms of the candidates, if the country is to shift from the politics of personality to the politics of party programs.

...How would it be?...

In partnership of Smartmatic Corp. and Filipino-owned Total Information Management Corp. (TIM) the automated election would be possible. With their partnership, the Smartmatic will be the one to provide machines for the automation, the one that has to guarantee the technology, the software, the transmission and the operations of the elections and indeed in charge of the operations.

Is it trustworthy to let this two company handle the operation in a critical event in our country like election?... The first thing to consider is “liability”. The trust and integrity of the provider and maker of the machines and operations to be used in the election proper are the top priority to ponder and contemplate. Starting from the planning, then processing and until implementing, and even the people include should make sure that they or it won’t be influence by any group of any party.

...In my own point of view….

Having an automated election in 2009 can make the Philippine election organize, manageable and faster, but of course the integrity which is the main concern of the election would still be on the hand of the Filipino people. Whatever the process or procedure to be used in an election or any event that is critical in a country, its central point is the people involve and the people to choose the right thing to do. To be on the duty of responsibility to take charge of the nonviolent, peaceful, harmonious, honest and fair election to all. In any event, whatever the purpose, the result would still depend on the intention and determination of each one to make the situation clear and accordingly. It would be a favorable condition for us in the election to be automated. However, there are lots of things to put into account such as process, security of data, the system, the accuracy, the management and a lot more are needed to consider in automated election. Since next year’s election will be automated it should be our duty, people of the Philippines to be vigilant, cautious and attentive in the election proper because the result of this election will greatly contribute to the country’s success and economic situation.

...Regarding to the issues of the election automation....

Since, election is a critical event in our country, it cannot be avoided to encounter negative issues and problem while undertaking the automation. In addition, for the protection of the Filipino people it is more relieving to thoroughly examine, check, study and evaluate things regarding automation for the benefits of everyone. It is the policy of the State to ensure free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections, and assure the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot in order that the results of elections, plebiscites and other electoral exercises shall be fast, accurate and reflective of the genuine will of the people.

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Venus Millena

Venus Millena

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PostSubject: Automated Election   Tue Jul 14, 2009 5:56 pm

study study study What is Automated Election?study study study study

Automated election system — a system using appropriate technology for voting and electronic devices to count votes and canvass/consolidate results.

study study study What are the essential benefits?study study study

1. User-friendly and need not require computer-literate operators.

2. The machine security is a built-in and multi-layer existent on hardware and software with minimum human intervention using latest technology like encrypted coding system.

3. The security key control is embedded inside the machine sealed against human intervention.

4. The Optical Mark Reader (OMR) do have a built-in printer for numbering the counted ballots and also for printing the individual precinct number on the counted ballots.

5. The ballot paper for the OMR counting machine have the quality that passed the international standard like ISO-1831, JIS-X- 9004 or its equivalent for optical character recognition.

6. The ballot feeder is automatic.

7. The machine is able to count from 100 to 150 ballots per minute.

8. The counting machine is able to detect fake or counterfeit ballots and do have a fake ballot rejector.

9. The counting machine is able to detect and reject previously counted ballots to prevent duplication.

10. The counting machine have the capability to recognize the ballot's individual precinct and city or municipality before counting or consolidating the votes.

11. The System have a printer that has the capacity to print in one stroke or operation seven (7) copies (original plus six (6) copies) of the consolidated reports on carbonless paper.

12. The printer have at least 128 kilobytes of Random Access Memory (RAM) to facilitate the expeditious processing of the printing of the consolidated reports.

13. The machine have a built-in hard disk to store the counted and consolidated data for future printout and verification.

14. The machine is temperature-resistant and rust-proof.

15. The machine is not be capable of being connected to external computer peripherals for the process of vote consolidation.

16. It provide the shortest time needed to complete the counting of votes and canvassing of the results of the election.

17. The machine is enable to generate consolidated reports like the election return, statement of votes and certificate of canvass at different levels.

18.While RA 9369 provides for the printing of up to 30 copies of ERs and their posting at the precinct, the single transmission and canvassing system can move much faster.

19.While RA 9369 provides for the printing of up to 30 copies of ERs and their posting at the precinct, the single transmission and canvassing system can move much faster.

20.Some vendors claim that national candidates could be proclaimed in less than 48 hours.

Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil The Disadvantage of Automated Voting Twisted Evil Twisted Evil Twisted Evil

It is interesting that while it was said that the slow transmission and canvassing in the old manual system created many opportunities for fraud, in the new automated system, very fast transmission and canvassing in 2010 may lead to massive fraud, frustrating the true votes of our nation.
"Automated election fraud By Manuel A. Alcuaz Jr. of Philippine Daily Inquirer"

1. In the new OMR system voters will feed the ballot into the machine the next thing we will see is the printed election return. Whether our votes were properly counted we will not know.

2.Transparency at the precinct level is gone.

Fraud can take place and the voters and watchers at the precinct will not know if fraud has taken place.

3.It is not free from Hacking.

4. The Comelec AES has no safeguards against insider-initiated fraud. It assumes that the Comelec and the vendor officials, managers and staff are absolutely honest. It assumes that an automated system will not commit mistakes or fraud.

5.Counting tables can be changed. Since the OMR machines are connected to the Internet, it is possible for an outside party, in connivance with Comelec or system vendor people, to enable an unseen computer to load the fraudulent table.

6.There is no provision for audit.

Idea cyclops Idea How do we safeguard our vote?Idea cyclops Idea cyclops

In order to prevent automated election fraud, certain safeguards have to be instituted. These include:

1. The OMR machines should not have any network connection. The election results should be copied to USB memory sticks, which can subsequently be loaded to a separate PC that will transmit the results to the Comelec canvassing system at the municipality and to the dominant majority and minority parties, as well as to the citizens arms such as PPCRV and Namfrel.

2. The above parties should be provided with their own PCs to be able to produce their own COCs. If the Comelec COC does not match the COCs produced by other parties, a careful review should be done prior to transmission to the provincial level.

3. The verified municipal COC should then be transmitted to the multiple groups defined above. Again, the Comelec COC should be compared with the other COCs and the reason for discrepancies should be determined.

4. The verified Provincial COC should again be transmitted to multiple parties.

The Comelec and Congressional Canvass should again be compared to the parallel canvasses to assure that fraud is minimized as much as possible.

5. Each of the concerned groups should make their results available on their websites for the public to access.

6. It is your honesty that be practiced because if we want a change it depend on us. Listen to what is proper and what must you need things to do to help to have a clean and peaceful election this coming 2010 election.

Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Own point of view:roll: Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes

In my own perception having an automated election is good for us. Nowadays, technology grow faster and bigger and its demand is continuously growing so fast. Third world country like us is really far behind compare to the giants and tiger countries in terms of technology. In these case our prior concerned must be how to compete with this fast changing technology and it must start by having an automated election this coming 2010 election. I do believe that It is not wrong nor destructing if we go with the flow on the new technology that the world offers us like having an automated election. Changes is not soon but it is now let it start on this coming election.

Some may not satisfied about the Automated election for some circumstances that may come along the way. I instantly understand them, but why adapt the new technology it is still the same that fraud and cheating still be encountered its unstoppable unless diminishing all those wicked soul. I stand to have an automated election cause i believe why prolonging the agony about the election credibility if it still fraud prevailing. In automated it gives the result in less than 48 hours, in this short span of time we will have the evil elected in his respective throne.

Changes come from us if all people stand in one philosophy of having a clean and peaceful election it can be it might be not this 2010 election but i know it will come. I don't really closing my doors to a miracle that we will be having a fair and election. In my heart the hopes for electing the right people is at near.

That's it! That is how election must be!

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Dolorosa G. Mancera

Dolorosa G. Mancera

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PostSubject: Automated election   Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:45 am

Third Assignment:

My thoughts about the automated election:

Before I give my thoughts about the automated election here in the Philippines, let us know first what automated election is. Automated election system is a system using appropriate technology for voting and electronic devices to count votes and canvass/consolidate results.

Having an automated election system this coming 2010 election? Well, am pretty much aware that the coming election would be done in a newer way- from a manual voting system to an automated one. But, is there really enough time to do this? Maybe yes, if there are good programmers to work for the success of this automated election. It would be a great help for the Philippines if the automated election system is done right and securely because it may curb cheating. This would be the first automated election here in the Philippines in response for the Filipino voters who aim to have a fair election. It a great relief to all of us because we will be rest assured that our votes is safe and create a government with leaders that are truly chosen by the majority of the Filipinos..

When the Philippines decided to have an automated election, there are two companies that will be involved for this. They are the Smartmatic International (foreign company) and the Total Information Management Corporation (Filipino-owned Company). These companies have been set back on track for the 2010 automated election.

“Smartmatic is a multinational company that specializes in the design and end-to-end deployment of complex purpose-specific technology solutions. With an unsurpassed technology base, continuous innovation, and quality in processes and results, Smartmatic is organized around three business areas: Electronic voting systems, intelligent and integrated security systems for large enterprises and governments, and advanced solutions for people registration and authentication for a wide range of government applications.

Smartmatic is a privately held company with offices in the US, Mexico, Venezuela, Barbados, Spain, Philippines and Taiwan. It has more than 200 employees worldwide. Its capacity for innovation and wide range of products and services have earned Smartmatic extensive recognition in the technology community worldwide.”

Reference: http://www.smartmatic.com/pressroom/article/article/smartmatic-demonstrates-election-technology-to-filipino-journalists/

“Total Information Management (TIM) Corporation is a wholly Filipino owned Information Technology (IT) company with nationwide operations offering varied products and services. It considers itself as "The Filipino IT Company" competing in a field dominated by multinationals.”
Reference: http://www.timcorp.net/main/index.php?pg=about.tim

One day, the Filipinos were alarmed with the news that we may have to go back to the old-manual election because the local partner of Smartmatic , which is the Total Information Management Corporation, backed out of the deal with the COMELEC. Various reactions and reasons flooded by several news articles and on the television. Some says that the TIM Corporation had a problem with the revenue-sharing model with Smartmatic or the conflict is about the necessary money to fund the activity. From the reference that I have read from the net, the TIM president was pulling out their partnership with the Smartmatic with an unspecified reason. He just simply says, “Irreconcilable difference”. Wow! Even I, I was barely puzzled with his reason and I really wonder what this means.

But after that controversial issue, I have read a relieving one. One of my resources/reference that I have read in which they post it on the 3rd day of July, 2009, discuss that the Philippines says plan for automation again. According to the head of the Commission on Elections or Comelec, “We’re back to automation”. It is after the Filipino Company, TIM Corporation, signed for a joint venture agreement with the Smartmatic to supply 82,000 counting machines that would be use this coming May 2010 for the election that is estimated to finish for only two days using the automated one.

or this 2010 election, many of us want to have a fair voting even if it’s a manual system or the more modernized one which is the automated election system. Using this automated election would be a great help for an easier and faster way of voting but after reading those issues/news, am a bit of doubt if this would gave us a peaceful voting system this coming May 2010. There are still possible conflicts or problems maybe technically that may occur this coming election. With those two companies, the two companies must have an equal control on the operations to avoid misunderstanding or conflicts. The decision-making should not fall solely to one company but they should have a joint force towards a successful automated election system. Money should not be the issue for this. If the government would pursue to have this automated election, they should give an exact budget for a more satisfying output. And I hope that no corruption would be involved.

Well, these are just some of the things that I observed. But as a Filipino citizen of this democratic country and a sooner voter to, I always wish that our voice through our votes will be heard fairly and honestly for a bigger future.

Arrow Arrow References:
• http://www.chanrobles.com/republicactno8436.htm
• http://www.smartmatic.com/pressroom/article/article/smartmatic-commends-automation-of-elections-in-the-philippines/
• http://www.jpsimbulan.com/2008/08/06/is-the-philippines-ready-for-an-automated-election-system/

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: July 09, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:23 pm

My thoughts on the incoming automated elections here in the Philippines. Naturally, as a TECHIE guy, I would be really happy and glad that our country is planning to make elections more easier and faster using technology. But then, we cannot assume that the result would be automatically perfect since that as I can see, Comelec is indeed, in a hurry. But as I have known, the Malacanang already released massive amount just to support this luxurious activity of Comelec. In relation with this, I am posting some of the details regarding with this new technology as can be found in the internet and the issues involved with it.

What Election Automation means for the Philippines?

“The Devil Will be in the Details and in the Execution”
In principle, election automation will remove the potential for human error/cheating from the ballot review and ballot counting. It can give near instant feedback of the election results. As soon as voting closes, it should be technically possible to get the election results within an hour.
I think it will have the following positive effects:

1. Remove the potential for human error and cheating at ballot reading and tallying

2. Remove the delay and potential for cheating between ballot tallying and preparation of election returns

3. Remove the delay and potential for cheating during tallying of election returns

4. Make elections much cheaper to execute

5. Reduce election violence significantly.

You’re probably wondering why automating the elections could reduce related violence significantly. Well, you won’t have to gun people down if there are no ballots being delivered to polling centers. Though, due to the dual nature of our planned automation (manual polling will continue in less developed parts of the country), such violence won’t disappear entirely.

“I Think it Will Bring Discontinuous Change”
1. Quick counts will become obsolete. If the results can be reported on the same day, there will be no market for quick counts. (NAMFREL has recently announced no quick counts for 2010 -Editor)

2. Labor will no longer be needed for several days/weeks to manage and monitor elections. the resulting creative destruction will affect teachers, poll-watchers, men of arms, media people, advertising, and the peripheral economy that they patronize during election period.

3. Guns and goons will give way to geeks and gold. Attempts at cheating will shift to hacking the transmittal of election results from far flung areas to Manila, as well as hacking the tallying of results in Manila. this could have the happy side-effect of pushing the computer and internet revolution into far flung provinces, as money flows to reward technical know-how every six years.

4. Quick direct from population feedback will become a viable option—referendum questions like charter change can be realistically executed in a short period of time if elections become so cheap and quick to do.

“There are Risk Factors”
1. Software - The software used all throughout the process, from ballot reading all the way to returns tallying, must be open for public scrutiny. It may not be proprietary and secret.

2. Devices - Ballots and computers used throughout may fail. Backup/contingency plan must exist and be robust. Sabotage could be the way cheating will be introduced, in order to force reverting to manual process.

3. Architecture - Transmittal and reporting of results could be susceptible to hacking. instant public visibility of results as counted at source and as transmitted at receipt will mitigate threats of hacking.

4. User - Voting needs to be simple and straightforward. Many Filipinos are not computer literate, and barely literate. PEBKAC errors can lead to many spoiled ballots, which may either be invalidated like in the US, or can be used as a pretense to revert to manual.


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alma cabase

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: July 09, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:40 pm

I have researched on the internet on the facts pertaining to the automation of the presidential election in 2010 and I have come up with these facts. This coming election which will be automated would cause Malacañang an P11.9 billion supplemental budget. The proposed OES-based automated election system, combined with an optical mark recognition (OMR) technology, could cost government about P8 billion for the equipment and operations. If Comelec prefers getting the OES automated election system alone, it will cost around P4 billion. It was also said that the choice of automation technology and its successful implementation is key to the credibility of the elections."
A lot of questions were raised upon the birth of this said automation. One question is, How reliable can the automation system be? A lot are saying that anything that is being done through computerized would be easier to falsify. Will the new system put an end to “dagdag bawas?” Is the software used for the system bug-free? With all these questions I guess it would be appropriate to know first how this automated system works. A lot are giving their opinion but really doesn’t have the knowledge on how it will work out.
On the election, a counting machine will be used. It is a machine that uses an optical scanning mark-sense reading. Also included in the list is Computer set which contains regular components, i.e., monitor, central processing unit or CPU, keyboard and printer. A National Ballot which will be counted by the counting machine. It will contain the name of the candidates running for a certain position. On the most basic sense, this system will use the power of the computer to automate the most time consuming part of the election which is counting the ballots. Still, voters will be required to write the names of their candidates manually on the ballot.
Many advantages also await the use of this new system. Let me enumerate them and give my comment on each advantage.
1.There will be no ballot box snatching as the ERs are transmitted electronically for canvassing
Of course no ballot box snatching will be possible since we will not anymore transport our ballot boxes. But I guess, ballot switching would still be possible. Even tough it would be that hard to do but as the famous line goes, “Pag gusto, maraming pwedeng paraan”. That is why I strongly believe that automation is not the key to a “dayaan-free” election.

2.If all precincts are connected, national results can be produced within one hour after the close of voting
I guess this is one of the reasons why a part of me will go with this automation system. The longer the time to produce the result of the election the greater chance that cheating will occur. We don’t know what will happen on the hours that we are waiting for the result since we are manually counting the ballots. It will just give those people who wants to cheat a time to carry out their plan.

3.Ballots are pre-printed and voters simply mark choices
To some this would be an advantage since voting time will be shorten for we will now simply mark the candidate that we want. But I guess this will be one of the sources of cheating for the up-coming election.

Looking on the disadvantages of the automation, the first thing that will come in our mind is the easy falsifying of data. Another thing to look into is, will the system really work? I have read in a computer magazine that even those new and expensive system encounters trouble. We can’t surely rely on a 100% performance for a system that is 1st time being implemented here in the Philippines. Maybe their are people who expects that every thing will be fine. But I’m pretty sure that they really can’t say that their will never be a problem with the new system that we are about to implement. With my experience, computers are unpredictable; we will never know when it will fail.
On the question on its reliability, for me, no one can measure it at this moment. But surely its reliability would be known after the election. This is also the reason why some people are claiming that the coming election will be a trial and error procedure for the new system. Will we allow such a thing to happen? This is a presidential election and the result of this election would surely spell where our country will be going for the next years to come. We all want an honest election; we all want a reliable result that will just show the real choice of the Filipino people.
I guess if a candidate in the election really intends to cheat, he or she will always find a way to do such a thing. Even if we automate our election, nothing would still change if people will not change. I guess our problem is not in the system. It is on the people involve on the election system. Another thing to consider here is the question is hitting our readiness for this automation. As what I have seen on the television a lot of problems are coming out inline with this new automated system. Is this really the right time for this? Will our gamble for a fast election meet our expectation for an honest and effective election? Even I can’t answer such question.
But if I will be asked if I am against this automated system, my answer would be YES. For me, our country is not yet ready for this, both the government and the people. The main thing that is important here for the next election is the fact that we want an honest election. Automation will surely not provide us with what we want, it will only give us a fast result for the election may it be reliable or full of fraud. The main factor that will play a vital role in the election is not the computers that we have and are capable to purchase and use, it will also be not in the software that will be used on the machines. The main factor ever since the election began are the people; the ones who will select the appropriate leader for this country. For the success of the election, automated or not, still lies on the hands of the Filipino people.
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Ida Karla Duguran

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: July 09, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:32 pm

My thoughts in the coming automated election is a probability of automated election fraud. In our current situation, automated election fraud like manual election fraud can be divided into two parts:

1. Retail cheating in the counting and preparation of precinct election returns.
2. Wholesale fraud in the transmission and canvassing at the municipal, district, city and provincial levels.

In my observation, fraud does not happen at the national level since there are fewer numbers to transmit and canvass, and there are many eyes focused on the process.

I will start discussing on how fraud can be done on the OMR (Optical Mark Reading) counting machines. Then we will discuss how fraud can take place in transmission and canvassing.

The Comelec claims that we finally have clean and honest elections because the 2010 elections will be fully automated.

The old cheaters who are computer illiterate and not in Comelec or with the automated system vendor may indeed find that their old tricks will no longer work.

Misreading and manual tampering of ERs (Election Returns) and COCs (Certificate of Canvass) will no longer be possible.

Now, the beauty of the old system of writing names of candidates voted for, public reading of votes in front of watchers and citizens, tallying and manual preparation of election returns was that it was visible (transparent).

At times there could have been fraud. But it was visible. Maybe sometimes due to guns and goons, people would just keep quiet.

In the new OMR system, voters will feed the ballot into the machine the next thing they will see is the printed election return. Whether their votes were properly counted they will not know.

Transparency at the precinct level is gone. Fraud can take place and the voters and watchers at the precinct will not know if fraud has taken place.

Even if the Comelec claims that the AES (automated election system) cannot be hacked and that the source code will be open for inspection, they do not make automated elections safe from fraud.

The Random House Encyclopedia defines hacking as unauthorized access to a computer, either for fun or for malicious or fraudulent purposes.
Hackers generally use microcomputers and telephone lines to obtain access.

In computing, the term is used in a wider sense to mean using software for enjoyment or self-education, not necessarily involving unauthorized access.

Hacking is not the problem and, therefore, spending time and money to prevent hacking is not very useful.

If only outsiders would rob you in your home then having grilled windows, special locks, alarms, etc. will ensure your safety. But if you live in the company of thieves, you can still be robbed. That is what the police refer to as an “inside job.

The greatest danger of fraud in the 2010 computerized elections will come from insiders in Comelec and computer vendors, not from outsiders.

In the old manual system, the hard copy of the precinct ERs were brought to the municipality to be read and entered in the statement of votes, which was visible to watchers. Watchers could compare the statement of votes with their own copies of the ER. Before the ER was read and added to the statement of votes, the authenticity of the ER was first verified.

This process took time and caused delays when lawyers argued, but at least citizens could see what was going on, hopefully make sure that votes were properly canvassed and at the very least be aware that frauds had taken place.

The Comelec AES has no safeguards against insider-initiated fraud. It assumes that the Comelec and the vendor officials, managers and staff are absolutely honest. It assumes that an automated system will not commit mistakes or fraud.

In the Comelec system, massive fraud can take place, but it will not be discovered until after the beneficiaries of fraud have been proclaimed.

Good luck with the election protests to the real winners who were defrauded!

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katherine eng lajom

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: July 09, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:40 pm

Your thoughts on automated elections with reference to the current situation.

AES: Yes or No?

THIS issue clearly addresses the political role of Information Technology in the Philippines and before I say something about my thoughts on automated elections, let us define first what does AES means…

AES (Automated Election System)a system using appropriate technology which has been demonstrated in the voting, counting, consolidating, canvassing, and transmission of election result, and other electoral process. (Found in Section 2.1 of Republic Act No. 8436)

It therefore refers to the use of computing technology to help conduct elections accurately in terms of counting votes and tallying result. But it brings to mind some questions about this issue;

How reliable can be the automated system be? Knowing that anything electronic is much easier to falsify…

Is there a guarantee to fair and clean election?

Are there enough good, ethical people in the IT industry to ensure the security of the programs to be used in the computerization?

As an IT student, I would like to go for E - Voting but because of these questions surrounding AES’ security and integrity, I found it difficult to finalize my decision.

It clearly talks about the system’s integrity and security. Some claims made suggests that it represents a solution for the Philippines’ perennial electoral problem – cheating. We all need clean and fair elections. And we would want to eliminate election fraud particularly the dagdag-bawas scheme. The system’s reliability should be ensured and protected to avoid manipulation during the election process. Who are we going to trust to guard the system safe, and who will guard that these guards?

One of the primary reasons why I would like to agree with E – Voting is that we can spend less time and effort. The time is being cut short if election is being held automatically. Instead of having it done for weeks, we can have the results for two or three days. We spend less efforts on it because instead of assigning large number of volunteers to count the votes and recount it in order for the number of votes to be validated, it is expected that since it is automatic and electronic, the computer is expected to do its job fast and accurate. Errors may not be avoided while running the nationwide elections with millions of voters to process. These errors are expected to reduce because of E- Voting.

But are the Filipinos ready for IT?

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katherine eng lajom

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: July 09, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:52 pm

No No No
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Sarah Jean Tisara

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PostSubject: Automated Election for 2010???   Sat Aug 08, 2009 5:12 pm

Is automated electionthe answer for a clean and honest election? Is it credible? Is Philippines ready for it?… These are some of the queries whirling inside my mind when automated election brought into topic.
Elections in the Philippines have always been a manual process with the results for national positions often being announced more than a month after election day, but this coming May 2010 it will shift into automated election. An attempt to rectify this was done by the Commission on Elections by automating the process of counting the votes.

What is Automated Election System?

Automated election system (AES) is a system that uses appropriate technology to accomplish and aid such tasks as voting, counting, consolidating, canvassing, and transmission of election result, and other electoral process. Republic Act No. 9369, which is the Amended Elections Automation Law provides for the use of two forms of AES. The first is a paper-based election system defined as “a type of automated election system that uses paper ballots, records and counts votes, tabulates, consolidates, canvasses and transmits electronically the results of the vote count.” It uses the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) Technology. Here, the voters have to shade the oval which corresponds to their candidate of choice using pencil in a specially scanned paper ballot. It is composed of 2 Laptops, 2 Digital Scanners, 2 card readers, 1 hub and 1 printer. The votes in the shaded ballots will then be scanned and counted using an Automated Counting Machine (ACM). This kind of technology is pretty much familiar in the Philippines.
The second form is the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE). It is defined as “a type of automated election system that uses electronic ballots, records votes by means of a ballot display provided with mechanical or electro-optical components that can be activated by the voter, processes data by means of a computer program, records voting data and ballot images, and transmits voting results electronically.” voters are provided with a Voting Pad where the photos of candidates can be selected by pressing on the desired picture. Once the vote is final, a receipt is generated after pressing ‘BOTO‘. However, DRE Technology can only be deployed in areas where communications is available and reliable. These technologies proved that IT in the Philippines is fastly growing and developing.

Who will provide?…

This new system of voting will not be implemented without the technology need to run the whole system. The Smartmatic, a world-class leading supplier of electoral solutions and services, won the bid to carry out the 2010 Election project in the Philippines. The contract was worth approximately $150 million, that Smartmatic is to deploy 82,200 SAES1800 voting machines across a sizable proportion of the 7,107 thousand islands comprising the territory of the Philippines, and transmit all results electronically to over 1,700 canvassing and consolidation centers. Smartmatic has successfully deployed its electronic voting technology in multiple electoral processes in the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia, accurately counting over 150 million votes, always with the provision of an auditable paper trail, and open source-code reviews. Last year, the Smartmatic electoral technology was used in the election in the ARMM region in the Philippines, an event the COMELEC regarded as very satisfactory, and first of its kind in South East Asia. Smartmatic is a multinational company that designs and deploys technological solutions aimed at helping governments fulfill, in the most efficient way, their commitments with their citizens. It is one of the largest cutting-edge technology suppliers, with a wide and proven experience in the United States, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Automated election has several advantages, some of these are: Financial Savings, though automated elections deal with computers and will cost large amount of money, it will still cut the cost, like labor cost. Since computer will do the counting, it means fewer laborer needed. Another advantage is, increased speed and effiency of electoral task and results. Using computers would make the voting and the counting faster and acccurate than manual process of election. It has also improved capacity to identify and prevent frauds., tampering of votes will prevented and the integrity of the election would be higher. There are so many advantages but the question is, Are Filipinos ready for this?

Even automated election provide high security, there are still computer geeks that can bombard the whole system or hack the computers and manipulate the results. There is also a possibility that cheaters would come from the people who developed the system. And wee can’t deny the fact that some Filipinos doesn’t know how to use computers especially in the rural area, will they be able to adapt this new process? In my own opinion, the main problem with automated election is “transparency”. People won’t able to see the actual process of counting the votes and several will doubt if the results are really correct.

Our country might be a long way to go from being industrialized and fully prepared to reap the benefits of Information Techbology in every major part of our everyday lives, but the conduct of the 2010 automated elections is a still a big step forward towards the achievement of a truly democratic and honest elections and the closure of the digital divide as a whole. Our infrastructures might not be at par to other countries and our people might not be fully informed and trained yet, but these shortcomings can be greatly remedied if we are equipped with the willingness to learn and adapt to our ever-changing world.
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March Dawn Eder

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: July 09, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:16 pm

Automated Elections?.. First that came into my mind the moment I heard of it was “Wow!..Sosyal!..Pagxure lang ana..”. Techie as you might imagine. ‘Cool!’, you can even say that but is that what we really need nowadays?.. In this time?.. Repression in the United States and years long of economic crisis here in the Philippines.. Is automated elections practical?.. I have few points why I oppose this. First, it is really not practical this time?. Second, does it really assure clean and honest election?. I have points too why I approve this. First, if not now, when?. Second, it would be incredibly fast than the manual one. Sounds confusing right?.. Where do I really stand?..

Actually, there are many pros and cons regarding this matter. The ones I stated above are included there. I could not say that I really oppose neither approve it. Today, we Filipinos are still facing economic crisis. Billions of pesos would be spent on those machines. But come to think of it, those billions of pesos if we would put it into something more reasonable could cause uplifting from the poverty line of our fellow Filipinos. I think that it is not the time to launch such.

Some say that it would really welcome fraud to be done and some said it is difficult now to cheat. I have read an article in a newspaper, the Daily Inquirer stating the cons about the said automation and the rebuttals of the COMELEC about it.

“Because of the automation of elections tallying would not be visible among people except those score sheets produced by the machines. Whether the votes where counted accurately, we will not know. Fraud can take place and the voters and watchers at the precinct will not know if fraud has taken place. COMELEC claims that the said system could not be hacked and its source code would be open to computer experts for inspection. Yes, it could not be hacked but are we assured that there will be no inside job?, that the cheating would not be made by those who know the means and ways of the system?. Looking at the source code is practically useless. OMR machines are used in schools for scoring tests and in survey companies for tabulating survey results. Members of the administrative staff in schools and survey companies do not change the source code. They provide a scoring or tabulating table to modify how the OMR machine scores a test or tabulates a survey. By changing this table, fraud is easily committed. In order to cheat on the OMR counting machines, all that is needed is to download a new counting table that changes for whom a shaded circle is counted. In areas where the candidates that want to cheat are weak, the table can be modified so that votes will be switched. At the end of counting, the original table can be reloaded so that any tests would indicate that the machines are counting correctly and honestly. It could also be possible for someone that seems to be authorized to quickly insert a USB memory stick that would load the fraudulent table. One could change the statement of votes of some municipalities. These changes would be reflected on the provincial COC.

In order to prevent automated election fraud, certain safeguards have to be instituted. These include:

1. The OMR machines should not have any network connection. The election results should be copied to USB memory sticks, which can subsequently be loaded to a separate PC that will transmit the results to the Comelec canvassing system at the municipality and to the dominant majority and minority parties, as well as to the citizens arms such as PPCRV and Namfrel.

2. The above parties should be provided with their own PCs to be able to produce their own COCs. If the Comelec COC does not match the COCs produced by other parties, a careful review should be done prior to transmission to the provincial level.

3. The verified municipal COC should then be transmitted to the multiple groups defined above. Again, the Comelec COC should be compared with the other COCs and the reason for discrepancies should be determined.

4. The verified Provincial COC should again be transmitted to multiple parties.

The Comelec and Congressional Canvass should again be compared to the parallel canvasses to assure that fraud is minimized as much as possible.

5. Each of the concerned groups should make their results available on their websites for the public to access.

If these proposed measures are followed, there will be true transparency and automated fraud will be minimized.

Yes, there could be many flaws in using the AES (Automated Election System). But is also have pros. And also, it could be prevented as what has been stated above. One pro of the said election is that it could provide us fast and hassle free election. The big sum of money is just for the initial or for the launching of the said project according to my dad and he also said that in the long run the expenses would eventually decrease and be lower that the expense of the manual election. Another thing is that if not now, when? if the technology’s price have really have sky rocketed?

Well, actually I’m confused on where to stand. I just laid some facts regarding the pros and cons of both stand. I myself don’t oppose the launching or the usage of the automated system in the coming 2010 elections. As an IT student, I really know what great benefits automation brings. Instructors have lectured it since I was in first year. It is really nice that it would be pursued but I would really like to recommend that the UP students’ team would have the honors to program the said system rather that who won the bidding for I think that the government could minimize the expenses if they were to choose the bright and young UP students’ team.

Automated election fraud
By Manuel A. Alcuaz Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
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Lynneth C. Llemit

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: July 09, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Thu Sep 03, 2009 7:19 pm

Automated Election

When we hear about Election, what come up in out mind were he faces of the politicians campaigning, banners here and there. Well, personally i've never voted since then.2010 Election is my debut in exercising my rights that could could make a great change they say. But i noticed evey campaign period,

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: July 09, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:05 am

Many had hoped that this coming 2010 election no more cheating will be done and as this new automated election system exist many had questioned its capability and security. The main problem here in our country is not the delayed of the result but the “dagdag bawas” of the votes. So the result of the election is more important than how fast it is to be tallied. Can the automated election system provide us more honest result than the old ways of casting our votes? The answer lies in the hand of the candidates, if they will try to cheat or not. In short it’s a matter of self discipline.
What is automated election system really is?
According to REPUBLIC ACT No. 8436, Automated Election System (AES) is a system using appropriate technology for voting and electronic devices to count votes and canvass/consolidate results. And according to what I’ve research, two voting technologies will be used; the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) and the Optical Mark Reader (OMR).
In a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) system, the voter is presented with a screen showing all the names of the candidates. To cast his vote, the voter has to touch the name of the candidate of his choice on the screen, or on a separate electronic ballot to be attached to the voting machine, and his vote automatically gets counted. Once the voter has confirmed his vote, the machine will print out a copy of his vote, which the voter will deposit in the ballot box. In an Optical Mark Reader (OMR) system they will use Automated Counting Machine (ACM) to count the votes in the ballots. (The Mindanao Current)
As an IT student, the technology mentioned above is not impossible to falsify or tamper. In Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) there is a program that let the voters choose who to vote. If the program record there votes properly they will not know. And in Optical Mark Reader (OMR) voters will feed the ballot into the machine the next thing they will see is the printed election return. Whether their votes were properly counted they will not know.
Is the automation of the election process will be the answer to the problems we have always encountered during every election period? Maybe, we will not know it unless we try. If we will just rely on the theories about the automated election system nothing will happen to us and the old ways of casting our votes will remain same as the old ways of cheating.
The automation of the election process means that the old ways of voting, and tallying the votes will be replaced. Instead of manual process, computers will be used. Paper ballots and ball pens are not needed. You just need to press the button in the machine for your candidate and the machine will automatically register your vote. The counting and tallying of votes are also will be done by the machines. So there’s no need for the old version of tallying were the votes are written and been tallied on blackboards.
This will be a greater help for our teachers that are always the one who are in charge in the elections. And because of the automation, for sure the election time will be lessen. The results will be release much sooner than before so the work of the teachers will be lessened. And because the machines will do the works, there’s no need for many workers. Even the problems that occur about cheating candidates will be lessening too. Because there is no need for ballot and ballot boxes, the common problem of losing the boxes will not be a problem anymore. Maybe “dagdag bawas”, a common method use by the candidates who are desperate to win will not be done in the automated process. It will be hard for them to manipulate the votes because it is now listed in machines. And regarding about the safety of the votes, maybe the automation will be a help to secure all the votes in safe.
But there is a little problem about the automation. Not all the voters are familiar about the process of voting using machines so they needed assistance now for them to be able to cast their vote with no problem. And this automated election system is more costly than the old one.
So the automated process of the election is much better than the old process. There are things that are easily done in the automation. The result is the most important of all and because the machines are the one who to the counting, it will not take months or even weeks, we will already know who are the new elected people that will serve our country.
But in every change, there is always a problem. So the success of the election, automated or not, will always start on us…

Smarmatic International Corp. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Smart¬matic International Holdings, BV of The Netherlands. The firm was founded more than a decade ago as a research and development group specializing in systems integration. Smartmatic has organized elections in several regions around the world, including South America, the Car¬ribean, the United States and Asia. Smartmatic was also the system provider for the 2007 Autonomous Region in Muslim Minda¬nao elections. Of the seven consortia, only Smartmatic/TIM was declared by the committee as qualified in terms of financial and technical requirements and eligibility.

Total Information Management (TIM), on the other hand, is a Filipino-owned information technology company that operates nationwide and offers various information-technology (IT) services and products. According to its website, TIM was founded in 1985 as a supplier for re¬certified and refurbished IBM mainframes and peripheral equipment. Since then, it has grown to be the country’s leading technology Services Company.
No writing of names - All candidates' names are pre-printed on the ballot. The entire voter would have to do to indicate his vote is to shade the oval corresponding to the name of the candidate of his choice.
Ballots are not counted in the polling place - After the closing of the polls, the ballots will be brought to the centralized counting center to be counted by the machines.
There are added security features at different levels - Aside from the usual built-in securities in the current manual system, there would be additional security features in the following levels: printing of ballots, shipment, counting and canvassing
Minimum human intervention - Human intervention is limited to telling the machine to: start and stop counting the ballots, start saving the results in a diskette (or any data storage device), and start printing the results. And appreciation of ballots is entirely done by the machine.
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Michelle Adlawan

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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: July 09, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:48 pm

The COMELEC had already chosen two groups of companies to collaborate in the election automation in the 2010 election in the country - one from a foreign-owned company (Netherlands-based Smartmatic Corp.) and the Filipino-owned Total Information Management Corp. (TIM). There had been many conflicts between the two groups in the resolution of the automation of the election but since it has been decided and signed by the COMELEC Chairman, 2010 automated elections is assured.
Automated Election System (AES) uses appropriate technology which has been used by other countries who is supporting election automation. This system has been showed in the voting, counting, consolidating, canvassing, and transmission of election results, and other electoral process during election. In an automated system, counting will no longer be done by the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI). In an OMR system, the paper ballots will be brought to a central counting center where they will be fed into a counting machine and print out election returns. In a DRE system, the voting machines will count the votes stored in its internal memory and print out election returns.

If this proposed system would be well-integrated, then it would be a fast and easy. To ensure a credible and transparent electoral process, the modernization of the electoral through computerization shall be supported to ensure the credibility of polls and correct the deficiencies in the electoral system. There were advantages that are mentioned using AES:
• There will be no ballot box snatching as the ERs are transmitted electronically for canvassing
• There is less work for the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI)
• If all precincts are connected, national results can be produced within one hour after the close of voting
• There is automated tally of votes at the city/municipal level
• The DRE can include an automated voter validation system
• Canvassing at the city/municipal and provincial levels is almost instantaneous
• There is an instantaneous tally of votes at the precinct level
• Ballots are pre-printed and voters simply mark choices

But still using systems like this, like any other systems used by any agencies and people, it is still prone to falsification and fraud. A lot of critics had burst out before and during the resolution of the election automation in the country. According to some speculations, the COMELEC had done a hasty decision in approving the automation of the election in the year 2010. As it is said, the country has too little time for conducting an automated election in the year 2010. However, the effort for the 2010 poll automation in the country had been extended for seven years and three administrative (Presidents Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) and now by the push efforts of some law-makers in amending the law for the modernization of the election here in the country, it is now approved that the country will used automation for the 2010 election.

The adaption of the automation in electoral process in the country would be a very good start in a first step towards modernization and rejuvenation in the country since we are now in the 22nd century of modern technology. It is true that computerization for the 2010 polls would be close to computer errors and failures since it involves complex technologies and software. Some of the named troubles that inherent these kind of technologies are software bugs, which are always present even in high-quality software; hardware problems such as miscalibration; environmental stresses that may worsen hardware problems; poor or flawed design; human errors; and malicious tampering. Yes, the automation might encounter problems, errors and frauds. But there had also been manipulations in the manual election done in the past several years. Problems and failures will occur whether the country will use manual or automated election. Both need sincere and honest work. And since it has been approved that automation will be used in the 2010 election, as concern citizens in the country, let us be honest and watchful in our polls. We can’t avoid fictitious operations; this is why transparency is highly needed during the coming election.

If we become aware of protecting our polls and properly follow the rules, the application of the amended automated election will be successful.

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Joan Rose P. Dandoy

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PostSubject: Opinion of an IT Student Regarding Automated Poll Election   Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:17 am

I couldn’t really remember when was the first time I heard that the upcoming election on 2010 will be automated here in the Philippines. As far as I could recall, I learned it through the words of mouth by the people around me until such time that it had become official and had been broadcast to the public.

To be honest, when I first heard about automating the election process on May 2010, I became glad because at long last the government favored technology. I could even consider it as a pace forward towards the dream of becoming a developed country from its long status as a developing country which belongs in third world countries. I was also happy because I could now apply the knowledge I have acquired in my course so far which is “Bachelor of Science in Information Technology” and participate, if given a change, to the activities in upcoming election as one of the watchers in achieving a clean election as possible.

As what as I am expecting, the upcoming Automated Poll Election had been imbued with intrigues and criticisms. From the news that I had heard, from the articles that I had read, from the discussions that I had joined with, even from the people around me including my family and friends, people had their own opinions about the change in voting system.
Some agreed while other condemn, some review it while others trash it, some thinks it good while others thinks it was just demagogue’s way of cheating in the upcoming election.

Having been heard about the different views of the people regarding the new system to be implemented, I decided to take a little excursion about what are the proposals on how the Automated Poll Election will take place.

I had researched in different types of medium just to get the information about information I needed. To be transparent to my results, I researched again and compared it from my previous searches. I found out that the Comelec (Commission on Election) are selecting two prototypes: the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Technology and the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) Technology.

In Direct Recording Technology, touch-screen machines will be used in voting. The running candidates will be displayed in the screen. The voters will just point his preferred candidate and confirm the selection. No traditional paper ballots will be used in this technology except for the confirmation paper that will be printed out after voting. This confirmation paper includes the list of the person that the voter had chosen and it will serve as an evidence for the voter’s transaction. For security and safety purposes, this confirmation paper will not be given away to the voter but should be kept by the Comelec officers.

On the other hand, Optical Mark Reader Technology will still be using paper ballots unlike the DRE Technology but not the traditional one. Here, a special paper ballot will be provided to the voters where the lists of running candidate’s name are printed. Beside the every name, a circle or oblong figure is provided which serves as the option of the voter. That figure will be shaded will special marker provided if the voter will choose the certain candidate. The voter should make sure that the shaded portions are correct so the vote that should be intended to candidate A will not go to candidate B just because of shading the wrong figure. After choosing the entire desired candidate, the voter will feed the special paper ballot to the machine that will scan the paper to encode its choices. It is still not clear if the machine will still print a confirmation sheet or the confirmation will just be posted by the machine’s Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) after feeding the special paper ballot. The fed paper ballot will serves as the evidence that election had took place.

After every transaction of a voter in the machines will readily count the votes and will be saved to the database of the machine. After the election, the votes gathered by the machines will be transmitted to the head office to congregate the data and see the final result of whoever candidate had won.

If and only if no disruptions will occur to manipulate the data that had been gathered, an accurate result will come out to the public which had addressed the election problems in the past.

That was just an overview about what Automated Poll Election can do. It sounds as an advantage if it will be performed correctly and honestly. Moreover, I cannot hide the reality that still there is a possibility that the results will be manipulated. I am not only talking as a concern voter here but also as an IT student who’s also aware of these malicious things.

For those who are tyros in Information Technology, one of the record manipulation techniques of the virtuosos in the field of IT is cracking. It is a way of changing the real record into a new one by intruding a not thoroughly secured system. I could even say, based on my research, that a much secured system can still be attacked by intruders who wanted to manipulate the record if they want and if they can. Furthermore, if you have heard a word hacking, it is merely different from cracking but still it is an intrusion. In hacking, the record will just be illegally viewed but it will not going to be altered, just for viewing purposes. But, let’s not tackle more about this because it will be out of the topic.

I do understand why people critique the change in election system because it’s a part of change. According to my instructor way back then, whenever a change is introduced, resistance will always be present. Actually, I could say that criticizing this new system is good because people are being vigilant in what are the things that are happening around them. As far as I could see, many organizations are emerging to promote clean election system not only in 2010 election but also for the upcoming future election.

What I wanted to show is the advantage and disadvantage of both parties that may occur. Even if you choose the traditional or the new electronic system, still, advantages and disadvantages take place. What is the most important here is the essence of unity. People are uniting for one goal of having a clean election as much as possible. If we just look through, there is no problem in the machines; it was just a piece of crap. The dilemma is on the people; doing harmful thing, performing the prohibited ones, destroying valuable items, and so on. I am not trying to be clean here, if you have say so, but why not try to be clean for ourselves first. Why not follow the famous saying,” Don’t ask what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country”. Is it really that difficult to be humane? Let’s remember, we are the one that controls our life so as that machines that we have discussed. So, if the result of having the election automated is good or not, the choice was all in our hands.


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John Cesar E. Manlangit

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PostSubject: Automated Election in the Philippines   Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:35 am

Election is nearly coming. Candidates for the election are preparing for their campaigns. Everybody on the political world is very busy preparing for it. Also, we, the voters are also busy choosing on whom to vote for.

Election next year will be very different because it will not be done manually. The election next year will be automated. These really show that technology is really evolving and is in our setting today. Everything comes in new technology today and whether we like it or not, technology is really growing. These new technologies make our life easier.

But will be automated election preferable than manual election?

Smartmatic-Total Information System (Smartmatic -TIM), the joint venture that bagged the contract to automate Philippine polls, is confident that the technology it will be using in the 2010 polls have enough safeguards to secure the votes of the Filipino electorate.
Because of allegations of poll fraud and manipulation of vote counts in past elections, the Philippines has embarked on a major project to automate voting, using machines that can scan ballots, print and transmit results that could declare winners within two hours at the local level and about 36 hours at the national level.
About 82,200 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines will be deployed nationwide. Each machine is programmed to read about 1,000 ballots from four to five polling precincts at 350,000 locations across the archipelago.
The elections commission said the automation process will minimise human intervention in the process and reduce allegations of fraud. It would speed up the process, giving it a result within two days instead of the weeks it has taken in the past.

How to vote

The ballot itself, could accommodate 600 choices – candidates and party-list groups and would be double-sided.
A voter is required to shade or fill in the oval shape to the right of the name of his chosen candidate. He said, as of now, permanent ink would be used and pens would be provided to the voter.

After making his choices, the voter himself would have to feed the ballot into the machine and not any member of the Board of Election Inspectors who would be supervising the polls at the precinct level. The ballot can be inserted in any orientation.

As each ballot is cast, the system stores and interprets images of the scanned ballot. If, in voting for president, a voter mistakenly marks two ovals—corresponding to voters for two presidential candidates—the SAES 1800 would consider it an invalid vote.

The machine however would still process and count the other valid choices in the voter’s ballot. Moreover, if the voter does not make any markings on ovals across the names of presidential candidates, the machine will interpret this to mean that the voter has decided not to vote for anybody for that position and would still accept it as a valid ballot.
An issue that still has to be decided upon, he said, are the so-called ambiguous votes, i.e. the oval was only partially shaded such as that only a dot could be indicated. He said they would need a policy decision from Comelec on this. He said, however, that the machine would count a check or X mark by the voter in the oval.

How votes are counted

After inserting his ballot, the voter would be informed, through the machine’s liquid crystal display (LCD), that his vote was counted by the increment on the indicator of the number of ballots counted. The ballot would then be fed by the machine on the bin in the ballot box which would contain valid ballots. Invalid ballots would be fed into a separate compartment in the ballot box.

At the end of the voting day, the chairman of the Board of Election Inspectors in that precinct would then use a special key to close voting for that precinct. The members then input their respective passwords into the machine.

After this, the machine would then interpret the images stored in its databank and print out the results of the elections in the precincts on thermal paper. The results of the national elections would first be printed out – and reprinted according to the copies needed – followed by results of the local elections.

In the printout, which would be two inches in width but would probably be several feet long, provisions are made for the signatures of the BEI chairman and members as well as the pollwatchers of political parties, candidates and party-list groups. The printouts would serve as the Election Returns (ERs) of the precinct.

After the ERs have been printed, the BEI officers will then be able to trigger the machine to transmit poll results to the municipal board of canvassers.

Transmission process

Where possible, transmission of votes will be done through any available telecommunication network. He said that the consortium would be conducting a nation-wide site survey to check for the availability of communication signals at every precinct.

In the cases where no communication facilities are available, the consortium and Comelec might use satellite communications using Satellite Internet VSAT (Very small aperture terminal) technology.

Even if a machine fails to transmit results, or in very difficult areas where transmission could not be established, the memory cards can be physically transported and inserted into “specially-configured terminals.”

PCOS machines that would fail during the election process would be replaced by “specially-configured machines”. The machines, which run on basic Linux operating systems, do not have their own hard drives. Instead, each will have two memory cards which would contain the software, the data that will identify each specific machine, and the voting results.
The machine only has a small operating system, the data for each precinct meanwhile would be encrypted into the memory card and only programmed at the main center before each machine is transported. Only their main processing center would be able to place critical data into the memory cards.

The memory card can store up to 2,000 images. Assuming that each ballot will have two sides, this means it each machine will be able to accommodate a maximum of 1,000 voters per clustered precinct.

Security features

The system has security and audit features at various levels.

For starters, the ballots that would be used for the 2010 polls would contain a number of security features.
Each ballot will have a bar code at the bottom of each ballot which would indicate the area and the precinct where the ballot should be used. The PCOS machine would only read ballots assigned to it and would reject and not process those which are not.

The markings using ultraviolet ink would also be used in the ballot. Without the ultraviolet markings, the machine would reject it. Comelec would also place other security marks into the ballot.

Only authorized personnel who would be issued a special key and passwords specific for each memory card and PCOS machine will be able to operate the machines.
The special key will be given to the BEI chairman. To perform these three actions—starting the election process, closing the casting of ballots, and transmitting results—the BEI chair will need to use this key. The action will be confirmed by the other members of the BEI who will have to enter their respective passwords into the system.

No need for separate quick counts?

Using the new automated system, that 90% of election results nationwide could be available 5-6 hours after the closing of the precincts.

There could be factors that would delay the overall results, such as delayed voting or the need to manually transport the memory cards from the precinct to a place where telecommunications systems are available.

Other factors involve some policies that would have to be decided upon by the Comelec. An example was for the transmission of the official municipal canvas report to the provincial board of canvassers.

Maybe, the automated process can be an efficient and fast method of counting votes for the election. But in terms of security, because it is automated, there can still be flaws. We cannot just say that there will be no cheating in the next election because it will be automated. Experts have listed a number of potential causes to disrupt the machines and make transmission of election results difficult. Potential problems listed by experts include hacking and "system buffer overflow", which can result in corrupted data and crashes.

Even though it will be done manually or automated, Cheating in elections will not be easily eradicated or minimized unless we voters will become more watchful and observant and unless also the candidates want a clean and honest election.

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Lynneth C. Llemit

Lynneth C. Llemit

Posts : 16
Points : 19
Join date : 2009-06-23
Age : 29
Location : Davao City

PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: July 09, 2009, before 01:00pm)   Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:18 am

Your thoughts on automated elections with reference to the current situation ... (1000 words)

Automated Election for the next national election(2010) is a great change our country will encounter in the history of the
Philippine Election. We are used to manual elections which is said to prone to cheating and biased election. The Question is "Will the 2010 Philippine automated election help us get rid of biased and manipulated election?". How will the Filipino peaple adopt the new system?

As i read sites and papers about the comming automated election, i could not help wondering what will be the scenario on every precint on that day. This is my first time to vote. I never did experienced registering myself before to the COMELEC office. When i went to the office, i was with an old woman trying to renew her registration, i came first and the process came smoothly from filling up the forms and getting the biometrics but when it was the old woman's turn to the biometrics she was hesitant,afraid the machine might do something harm on her. My point is the COMELEC boasts on the great changes the automated election could help a great deal to us. It would be more convenient and less prone to cheating, but how would the Filipino layman take it. The old woman for example, she just represents 6% of senior citizens in our country,most of them could not adopt to the new technology we enjoy right now. Aside from that,
not all of us got decent education enough to understand the process,yes there were personnel that watches the process but not all personnel were honest enough.

My mother is a public school teacher and every election she serves and i could not help not to notice the scenario every election, there were the AFP always watching in case of trouble, i worry most of the time. They had to secure the ballot boxes to be safe and delivered. I read in this site that votes were counted and transmitted to counting centers unlike before that they had to keep it and deliver it to counting stations that might risk their lives. It will be a great help on security of the personnels.

Aside from that, some areas in the country were troubled by the MILF and other rebels. The election in those areas were delayed and unreliable. I think shifting the election system into automated would at least ease the election in those areas.

But i believe that implementing automated election in 2010 needs more study. Decisions like that wont be wise. Impelmenting rush automated election might result problems. One of the things that must be considered is "does the service provider of the election efficient enough to supply effective devices that should ne used in the election?"
"the personnel that will operate the devices reliable enough or introduced enough to the new system?"

there are lots of things to consider. I just hope my first election will be happy and memorable

http://bloggista.com/2008/08/14/the-first-philippine-automated-elections/ bom
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jealou azucena

jealou azucena

Posts : 25
Points : 27
Join date : 2009-06-23
Age : 29
Location : Davao City

PostSubject: Assignment #3   Wed Oct 14, 2009 8:28 pm

Recently, the Commission on Elections announced that on 2010 the Philippines will be having their first automated election. After the long process of preparations, budget and provider of the system has been named.

Smartmatic with its Filipino partner TIM won as the highest bidder and will be our provider for the Automated Election System (AES) and with the budget of 13.9 billion everything is rolling...
The Comelec promises a clean, honest and fast election...

If I will be ask if I want an automated election...
Yes, definitely!

But if ask if Philippines is ready for 2010 Automated election...
hmmm...I must say no...

What I found out being an IT student is that implementing a new system is not easy. Extensive and thorough research must be done.

Here are points that I want to share why I think our country is not yet ready for the automation in 2010.

Credibility of the provider...
Not long after Smartmatic and TIM has been named as the highest bidder a conflict between the companies arise jeopardizing the automation of election. According to reports TIM president wanted a 500 million php 'up front' from its foreign partner, which Smartmatic took as deal breaker.
The very words of TIM president is this "If you give me a half a billion pesos, all of these problems will be solved.”
So what are the problems to be solved?

First point, at this very early stage of the implementation the Comelec experience a problem in pushing the contract. And even before finalization of contract providers are against each other.

First let us identify what are the Automate Election Systems planned to be used in the coming election. There are two technologies:

Optical Mark Reader (OMR)
Direct Recording Electronic (DRE)

The beauty of the old system of writing names of candidates voted for, public reading of votes in front of watchers and citizens, tallying and manual preparation of election returns was that it was visible.
At times there could have been fraud. But it was visible.

In the new OMR system voters will feed the ballot into the machine the next thing they will see is the printed election return. On the other hand DRE is a touch-screen or touch-pad machine. No paper ballot is necessary as the names of the candidates and the offices for which they are running will all be displayed on the computer screen. The voter directly enters his choices electronically into a memory cartridge, a diskette or a smart-card that will be added to the precinct, municipal, provincial and national tallies also electronically.
Whether votes were properly casted and counted we will not know.

Comelec claims that the Automated Election System (AES) cannot be hacked and the source code will be open for inspection. But the thing is we’re not talking about outside intrusions, the greatest danger of fraud in the 2010 automated elections will be if it come from insiders in Comelec and system providers.

Second point, automating the election doesn’t mean that it will be fraud free.

I know that one could argue if both type of election cannot be fraud free why not go for something which produces fast result?..

Actually, I am not against the automation of election...
I commend the government for coming up in such a good innovative idea for our election. Personally, I believe that we should have implemented this a long time ago...

However Commission on Election are rushing things up, there is a very little time intended for implementing the AES.

Testing cannot be done in just months, to get a reliable result this must be performed for years. To assure the voters of clean, honest and reliable election the AES must be tested if it has no flaws. Through testing we could also prevent fraud in the incoming elections offering more credibility.

Other than that, it’s only months away before election but still the citizen do not how to use the system. How will we vote if we do not know how to use the machine. We must consider that not all people know how to use a computer. If people will not be able to use the machine properly there might be a big chance that their votes will not be counted or will be invalid.

If something like this happens, losing opponents will most likely file a case and call for reelection.
There is no need to say that cost is a very important factor in this type of situation.

Therefore I believe that the Philippines is not yet ready for an automated election.

It is good that our government is changing into AUTOMATED ELECTION SYSTEM, I adhere that they continue to implement this for the next election. I suggest that they plan the implementation carefully towards a credible, reliable, fast and better election.

jealou azucena lol!
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PostSubject: Re: Assignment 3 (Due: July 09, 2009, before 01:00pm)   

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Assignment 3 (Due: July 09, 2009, before 01:00pm)
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