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‘Be ready for manual elections’

Election watchdog Kontra Daya urged the Commission on Elections to be ready for a possible manual election in case a problem occurred concerning the use of precinct count optical scan machines. The group wrote a letter to Election chairman Sixto Brillantes asking the commission to draw up a contingency plan in case the voting machines conk out. “With the many problems hounding the AES (Automated Election System), we call on the Comelec to draw up contingency plans for manual counting in the event that the PCOS machines fail. We call on the Comelec to be ready for the worst case scenario as the preparations for the AES have exposed multiple vulnerabilities,” said Kontra-Daya co-convenor Joe Dizon. Dizon said they “cannot draw confidence from the statements of Brillantes that all is fine with the AES.” The group was referring to the recent statement by Brillantes that the poll body is now in the process of convincing its election partner Smartmatic Corp. and Dominion Voting Systems for the release of the source code, a human readable instruction that defines what a computer will do. In a mock elections held last month, the voting machines in some precincts rejected ballots. There were also reports of errors in transmission during the dry run in several provinces in Mindanao. Comelec will be using automated machines called Precinct Count Optical Scanner machines, which allow people to know the results of elections in a matter of hours. In the past, it takes months to know the results. The commission said another mock election was unnecessary because they have corrected the glitches that emerged in the mock elections. It said the glitches that occurred during the mock elections were seen and corrected by the Technical Evaluation Committee. The TEC was mandated by law to review and certify the automated election system, and the TEC is satisfied with the result of the mock elections in 20 voting centers in 10 areas of the country. The TEC is composed of the Comelec, Department of Science and Technology and the Commission on Information and Communications Technology.
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