Cebu solon: Hybrid automation in 2010 polls ?illegal, infirm?

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[/caption] House Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia of Cebu, author of House Bill 6008, said a new system should be used in the coming 2013 polls, which will plug the proven weaknesses of the old system while a reliable, credible, and acceptable automated system is yet in the works. Garcia said the May 2010 automated election was an “illegal and constitutionally infirm” electoral process due to the refusal or failure of the Comelec to comply with the provisions of Republic Act 9369. According to Garcia, Republic Act 8436 was enacted into law in 1995 authorizing the Comelec to use an automated election system. RA 9369 was enacted in January 2007 paving the way for the automated polls in 2010 and in succeeding elections. “These landmark statutes ushered in a high sense of hope that the country’s electoral system will finally be insulated from the numerous ills that have perennially plagued the manual election system. Hopes were high that an automated system will ensure the country’s elections to truly reflect the sovereign will of the Filipino people,” Garcia said. “All these seem now a wishful thinking as the May 2010 polls proved otherwise. The failures and shortcomings of the system applied were so grave that they cast serious doubts on the integrity and credibility of that automated election,” Garcia stressed. Garcia said the “hybrid automated election system” employed by the Comelec and Smartmatic was far different from the automated election system mandated by RA 9369. “Instead of employing voting machines, they used counting machines. The Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine utilized in 2010 was more of a counting and transmission machine that the voting machine contemplated by RA 9369. The automation should have covered the entire election process including especially the act of voting,” Garcia said. Garcia said the PCOS machine did not have a provision for a Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), a receipt that the voter gets or receives from the voting machine after voting. It also indicates how the vote or the ballot of the voter can be identified later. “The PCOS was bereft of a verification system that enables the voter to determine if the machine has registered his actual and true choice or choices,” Garcia said. ]]>

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