Monday, May 27, 2024

Atienza wants to amend poll automation law, bats for hybrid model

Buhay party-list representative Jose ?Lito? Atienza on Thursday, Oct. 31, said he will be filing a measure to amend the Automated Election Law to modify the computerized elections to make voting and canvassing to be done manually while the results transmitted electronically.

Lito Atienza

?The recently concluded barangay elections were generally peaceful and orderly, with the results known within at least five hours from the closing of the polls. And this was done using manual canvassing,? Atienza said.

He said that in the past two elections using the Automated Election System (AES) via the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines, the voting process was tedious and time-consuming.

?No one saw how the votes were canvassed. This lack of transparency where voters are effectively asked to put implicit trust in the machine that can be tampered with erodes confidence in a fully automated system,? he pointed out.

?We are proposing an amendment to the AEL wherein the voting and canvassing of votes would be done manually while the results will be transmitted electronically to the central database. In this way, we can preserve the integrity of the election process because the community can witness and see the counting accuracy at the precinct level,? he said.

While manual counting at the precinct level may entail more work, he said this is offset by the fact that watchers can personally see that each vote is counted.

He said this is unlike in the case of PCOS machines wherein once a ballot is fed into the machine, there is no way of knowing if the vote was indeed read properly and counted.

?You are at the mercy of the machine and the programmers,? Atienza said

Atienza said that instead of ensuring an efficient and credible elections, the automated system makes ?wholesale cheating even easier.?

During the first automated elections in 2010, the former Manila mayor was the first to file an election protest, citing irregularities in the local election. — PNA

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