Smartmatic alarms lawmakers regarding program errors

MANILA, Philippines – Congress, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, resumed session on Wednesday afternoon but not a single vote was counted.
Day 2 of the joint session was instead spent grilling officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and election automation system provider Smartmatic on the authenticity of the results of the recent national polls.
The admission of Smartmatic Asia-Pacific president Cesar Flores of innocent program errors caused concerns that there may have also been program errors in computing the votes.
Among the errors uncovered so far:
1.The Canvassing and Consolidation System– the server that receives the electronic certificates of canvass for president and vice-president–that was sent to the House of Representatives showed a bloated number of registered voters.
When the machine was initialized, House and Senate staff discovered that the machine showed a total of 256 million registered voters.
2.The Election Returns in some localities showed time stamps as early as April 27, suggesting that voting happened before the May 10 elections.
“There could have been voting prior to May 10, but they could not transmit results,” said Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri.
Bloated numbers
Flores admitted that an “error in the application” caused the bloated number of registered voters. Instead of adding the registered voters per precinct, the application added the registered voters in the precinct, municipal, and provincial levels.
“The number of voters was multiplied by 5–our mistake,” Flores said. The actual number of registered voters in the Philippines is 51.3 million.
Flores assured that computer glitch was limited to the number of registered voters. “The only variable affected is the number of registered votes. It does not alter the votes itself,” he said.
But the lawmakers were wary.
“There is an error already from the very start. Is it not possible that there will be an error in the computation of votes?” said Maguindanao Rep. Didagen Dilangalen.
“We want an assurance that the program was not corrupted. If there was an error, it gives us the impression that the program inserted therein may have been a wrong program. That is the most important machine today. It will be the basis of our canvass. Imagine, the most important machine is wrong?” said House Speaker Prospero Nograles.
“He [Flores] said there is nothing wrong with the PCOS. But in effect, there could have been something wrong with the transmission of the contents of the PCOS machines. I’d like to ask, who made the mistake? So that we can sanction him if necessary–in the interest of national welfare,” said Senate minority leader Senator Aquilino Pimentel.
Flores responded: “My personnel. There is a group of programmers.”
Early voting?
The time stamps, on the other hand, were a result of the clock of the PCOS machines going wrong, Flores said.
While he said early voting could have happened if the people in charge of the machines allowed it, there was a procedure during Election Day to make sure that the PCOS machines start from zero.
“We are not responsible for the way Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) use the machines…. If the machines are delivered, the ballots are there, are there are no watchers, the same as the manual elections, you can do those things,” Flores said.
“Is it possible that people who control the machines can vote prior to May 10? When the machines are opened on actual voting on May 10, what will happen to the votes cast prior to May 10? Would that be recorded already? If it is possible that election be made, ballots can be put inside the machine by people who have control over the machines, then the due execution and authenticity of the same would be questionable,” said Nograles.
But Flores said there is a protocol on Election Day that the PCOS machines should be initialized before BEIs and poll watchers to show that nothing was stored inside the machine.

“More importantly, let’s remember that the ballots are precinct-specific. The only ballots that the machine can read are the ballots belonging to the precinct,” said Flores.

source: abs-cbn news

Halalan 2010 PCOS Machine Election Automation VS Manual Voting Results

Manila Philippines – What do you think are the pros and cons of having an automated election? There are several issues and benefits regarding this automation of election. The question is, are you in favor of this automated election, are you satisfied in what you have paid in a billion pesos? Would you rather consider the short line for manual voting rather than than of long lines because it became a clustered precinct? As of May 11 We have partial results came from the PCOS machine and being announced by chairman melo of COMELEC, or would you choose the manual voting that the output might result in less than a week?

There are things that needs adjustments at first just like the PCOS machine, because things that are first tested are not guaranteed a 100% full accuracy sometimes it has bugs and other errors which are very usual to machines, but the thing is that the Smartmatic should put IT professionals or Technician who knows well of the PCOS machine and the Smartmatic should test the machine first before they distribute and if lack of time is the reason for this bugs in the PCOS machine, the thing that the Smartmatic should do is to hire more people in their company even for a month only just ti verify that the smartmatic is working great and reliable in counting of votes. The more people that works on the smartmatic the more productive or the more reliable the PCOS machine will be. The smartmatic should also foresee some of the risk that might happen when using the machine so that the technician will know what are the things that he needs to do to be able to fix it as soon as the election starts. Well In the manual voting there are several watchers and teachers that are need to be present just to be able to count the votes that sometimes none of them seem to do their task. The advantage of the PCOS machine is that it makes the counting easily, is makes less people involve in election counting, less effort and many more compared to manual voting that requires opposite of the automated election. A little advice is that before releasing of the machine be sure that it is working and complete in everything that is needed in the election and there should always be a person or technician or IT professionals who knows how to troubleshoot and Be sure to know what are the error and later on fix or enchance the PCOS machine for the next election.

Smartmatic: Don’t expect total efficiency

MANILA, Philippines—If a machine conks out, it doesn’t mean there’s a glitch.

Duh?

Not all of the counting machines will work perfectly on Election Day, but voters need not worry because officials are prepared to handle the hiccups, according to Smartmatic-TIM Corp. Asia Pacific president Cesar Flores.

At a news conference Monday, Flores angrily denounced newspaper headlines highlighting the cold and damp weather in Hong Kong that momentarily decommissioned two precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines on the second day of the month-long overseas absentee voting.

He said people’s expectations in the conduct of the country’s first nationwide automated elections on May 10 should be tempered.

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Hackers strike again; TESDA page defaced

MANILA, Philippines – Hackers struck again, this time, defacing the home page of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) website, www.tesda.gov.ph.

Hackers put up two pages on the TESDA home page.

The first one had a header that read: “Nakikiramay kami sa pagpanaw ng Iskolar ng Bayan, freedom fighter na si Kimay”.

The first page also contained an illustration of a man giving the middle finger, then the text at the end of the page read: “Ano ba gagamitin sa eleksyon?”

The second page posted greetings from Ventureslink and directed visitors to Smartmatic, the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) partner for the automated polls.

This is not the first time government websites have been hacked.

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Bid time stories

MANILA, Philippines—During the weekend, the Comelec declared that the lowest bid for the 2010 election automation system came up to only about P7.1 billion.

It came from the consortium led by Smartmatic, a multinational company based in the Netherlands.

The next lowest bid came from the consortium headed by Indra Sistemas, a Spanish conglomerate, which submitted a bid of P11.22 billion.

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