PoliticalArena.com had a meet up with Cebu Bloggers' Society together with COMELEC officials and Smartmatic-TIM at Neo-Neo Grill House-Mabolo.
This was part of their campaign to educate the people in the Philippine's "2010 Automated Election". Automated they'd say but actually the counting process only which would undergo automation, however, it will significantly improve the whole Election Process.
Ms. Racquel Cagurangan, General Manager of PoliticalArena.com talked about the site:
It is the country’s first socio-political networking site, developed to promote awareness and interactivity in the local political scene. It provides users with a common platform to access information about candidates and, at the same time, offers candidates with a venue to disseminate information to the public, real time.
Ms. Maan Tolentino also made a short review on COMELEC's voter education websites' www.bagongbotante.ph and www.ibanangayon.ph Miguel Avila of Smartmatic-TIM showed to us the PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machine and demonstrated the new Voting Process for 2010 Automated Election to Cebu Bloggers Society.
Here's how the New Election System works:
Step 1: Proceed to your respective precincts where you are listed.
Step 2: Present yourself to the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) to get a ballot. Then Listen to the BEI's instructions on how to properly fill up the ballot.
Step 3: Receive the ballot and make sure it is empty or unmarked on both sides. Be sure as well to check that what you have is the correct ballot for your precinct. Keep in mind that ballots are precinct-specific.
Step 4: Fill up your ballot by shading in the ovals (not check, X or half or line) next to the names of the candidates you want to vote for.
Some position will require you to choose more than one candidate, so read the instructions carefully!
Step 5: Insert your ballot into the counting machine. It doesn’t matter if you insert the ballot bottom first or upside down. Wait as well for the confirmation message on the machine screen. Then, go back to BEI (Board of Election Inspectors)to return the pen and have an indelible ink on your finger for proof of voting.
*There will be some instances that machines are unable to scan the ballot, in this case just pull it out then refeed.*
Step 6: At the end of the process, the voting machine will count all the votes cast and BEI will print 30 copies of the election returns (ERs).
Step 7: And within one hour after the printing copies of elections returns (ERs), precinct results will be electronically transmitted to five entities. It will be connected to a network for 5 minutes for transferring of ER copy for City or Municipal Board of Canvassers (CBOC/MBOC), Dominant Majority Party, Dominant Minority Party, COMELEC's Accredited Citizens Arm (PPCRV), and Kapisanan ng mga Broadcasters sa Pilipinas (KBP). The ERs will also be sent to COMELEC Central Back-up Server. The 30 printed copies will be distributed to CBOC/MBOC (1), Congress(1), COMELEC (1), Dominant Majority Party (1), Dominant Minority Party (1), Accredited Citizens Arm (PPCRV) (1), Ballot Box (1), Provincial Board of Canvassers (1), Ten (10) Accredited National Parties excluding Dominant Majority Party and Dominant Minority Party, Two (2) Accredited Local Parties, National Broadcast or Print Media Entities (4), 2 Local Broadcast or print media entities (2), Major Citizen's Arms, including PPCRV and other non-partisan groups enlisted by COMELEC.
Step 8: Canvassing of Votes by involved entities.
IMPORTANT REMINDERS so that your votes will not be wasted:
1. DO NOT OVER-VOTE! If you vote for more than the maximum number allowed, your votes for that position will be INVALIDATED.
2. SHADE PROPERLY! There is a big possibility that your vote MAY NOT BE COUNTED if ovals are not properly shaded since votes will be counted through an Optical Scanner which is sensitive. Anyway, shading is a lot easier than writing the names of your bets, so there's no reason why we cannot do it the proper way.
Below are the Basic Info. and Features of the New Voting System:
-There are 76,000 clustered precincts nationwide.
-PCOS machines and Ballots are precinct specific, which means PCOS machines would only work to designated precincts and so as Ballots.
- Barcodes on Ballots. Ballots are bar code protected. This will guard against duplication.
- Ultraviolet (UV) Ink. Pen to be used contains ultraviolet ink which the machine detects to determine its genuineness.
- 5-minute Data Transmission to the Main Stream and to COMELEC Back-up Server. This would mean less vulnerable to hacking since the shorter the transmission time the secure the data transmitted.
- 128-Bit Encryption Algorithm. It means 1x1036 combinations need to be decode to hack the system during data transmission.
- For far-flung areas which do not have network signals, a BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network) will be used.
- A 16-hr battery will be provided enough to sustain until the last voter, this is specially for areas with no electricity and/or during incident of brownouts.
Photo Credit: Sinjin Pineda