Press Release
April 12, 2010

PCOS snags in overseas absentee voting...

After technical glitches snag two voting machines on the second day of the overseas absentee voting in Hongkong, opposition senator Chiz Escudero said the vulnerabilities of the precinct counting optical scan (PCOS) machines to different factors have yet to show.

Escudero expressed concern about more serious technical problems facing election day with the PCOS machines.

On the second day of the absentee voting in Hongkong, two machines did not immediately work, causing delays in the conduct of election for hours.

Smartmatic-TIM Corp. pointed out the glitch to weather acclimatization.

Escudero, chairman of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Poll Automation however said that he fears more serious problems are coming in as far as technical and logistical matters are concerned.

"We are just talking of 20 polling precincts there in Hong Kong with 2 bogged down machines, but the time it took to rev up and re-install the replacement took up hours."

The senator said he could not imagine the nightmares facing the Comelec on the day of the election here, with technical malfunctions to affect any of the 80, 136 cluster precincts all over the archipelago.

"That would be a startling situation, using the PCOS all over the country and you are not sure if it works. We will have the dry run and the actual use of all of the 80,000 machines both on the same day."

He said that the Comelec and Smartmatic don't have enough contingency plans for failure and protocols to guide the board of election inspectors (BEIs).

"The Comelec and the Smartmatic have been passing the buck about disclosing their protocols on what they will do in case machines break down. How are they going to handle the spare machines, who will get the replacements from the assigned warehouse to the polling precinct?"

Escudero said the Comelec seems to work on a case-to-case basis in addressing foreseen problems in the conduct of the country's first full poll automation.

"There is really no black and white code of rules to follow for contingency measures. Comelec it seems is also blind about what measures Smartmatic has put in place to respond to technical and logistical problems come election day."

"This is an election process where the conduct is totally contracted out to a private entity."

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