Press Release
February 2, 2009

Gordon grills Comelec on security features
of automation machines for 2010 polls

Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today reminded the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to ensure that the security and safety features of the machines it intends to use in automating the May 2010 presidential elections would be sufficient to do away with any forms of electoral cheating..

During this morning's Senate hearing on the proposed P11.3-billion supplemental budget the Comelec is seeking for the planned automation, Gordon, author of the Amended Automated Elections Law, grilled the Comelec on the security features and safety measures of the new automation technology it is proposing to use in the elections.

The senator suggested safety measures that he wants the Comelec to consider when they finalize the security and safety measures that would be taken.

On the Comelec's plan to transmit encrypted election results using the cellular sites of telecommunication companies - Globe and Smart, Gordon suggested using dynamic addresses to prevent hackers from capturing an address.

"Dynamic addresses should be used. This means the election results would be encrypted and the address changes so that nobody can figure out how to capture a particular address," he said.

"Hindi maka-capture yung address so that somebody who is desperate enough to become president or a senator cannot capture that address and change the results of the election," he added.

The Comelec has reportedly agreed to use Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) technology that the Advisory Council recommended, instead of the direct recording electronic (DRE) or optical mark reader (OMR) technologies that it used in the automated elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) last year.

The Comelec said the PCOS is actually an improved OMR system or a technology wherein optical paper ballots, hand-marked by the voters, are inserted for counting into optical ballot scanners placed in every polling precinct.

Gordon also wants the Comelec to ensure that the paper ballots are secured whether by a bar code or a "securitized paper."

Gordon made the suggestion after expressing apprehension that with five polling precincts clustered together in some areas, it would be very difficult to stop vote-buyers from getting the ballot from a voter and writing his candidate's name on it or for teachers to give out valid ballots that were already filled up.

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