Presentation: Parallel Manual Count by Gus Lagman

Why are we deeply concerned about the high probability of an automated “Garci”?

  1. Comelec chose a technology that counts votes in secret, when the election mantra today all over the world is “secret voting, public counting.”
  2. Comelec did not allow “source code” review.
  3. PCOS print-out/display of voters’ choices disabled.
  4. Smartmatic to generate both public and private keys; recently, Comelec said the keys will already be pre-fed into PCOS.
  5. Comelec will proclaim winners before audit is done.
  6. No General Instructions (GI) for random manual audit, continuity plan, protest process.
  7. UV ink check disabled.
  8. Smartmatic managing the whole process?
  9. Digital data to be transmitted to Dominant Party, Dominant Opposition, Citizens Arm, KBP, in round-about way.

How can “Garci” be automated?

  1. Hide a “cheating” program in PCOS (automated retail “dagdag-bawas”)
  2. Store preset results data in CF cards
  3. Tamper with digital results during transmission
  4. Manipulate results through canvassing programs (automated wholesale “dagdag-bawas”)

A parallel manual count will eliminate many of our concerns about an automated “Garci.” We can still do something to make our elections credible.

In implementing an IT system, a pilot run and/or a parallel run is always done. Despite a provision in the law, Comelec did not do a pilot run. This time, we have to demand that the Comelec at least does a parallel run. Manually count all ballots, but only on 3 positions – president, vice-president, and mayor.

Questions the Comelec might ask:

Q: It might delay the release of election results.
A: Our time and motion study shows that this extra step will only take 3 hours for a precinct with 600 voters.

Q: What if there are discrepancies between the PCOS and manual counts?
A: Until today, Comelec has been claiming that PCOS is accurate; if it’s not, then why did they choose this machine in the first place?

Q: But what if there are?
A: Then count the votes for all positions. This is estimated to take approx. 2 days and the canvassing an extra 2 days.

Q: There’s no time to prepare for it.
A: Part of their contingency plan is to print forms needed for manual counting. They might as well print for 100% of precincts.

Q: It’s difficult to implement.
A: It’s not. And it’s a small price to pay for credible elections.

Q: It’s not in the law.
A: The law does not prohibit it either.

Ours is a most reasonable request. It is a simple and most logical solution to the uncertainties in the coming election. There is absolutely no reason why the Comelec will not accept our recommendation. All they need to do is call. We are most willing to sit down with them to discuss the details of this solution.

Gus Lagman is lead convenor of TransparentElections.Org. Ph, former president of Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines (ITFP), former president of Philippine Computer Society (CSP), and former Technology Chief of NAMFREL. This presentation was given at a press conference initiated by the Movement for Good Governance (MGG) on April 13, 2010 at Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati City.

View the slides of the presentation or download the audio file.



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