THERE'S nothing surprising about that Pulse Asia survey showing that seven out of 10 Filipinos have little or no knowledge about the automated election system that will be used in May.

Consider that automated election is a radical shift from the old manual system.

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Besides, Comelec in the past days has been focusing on procuring the machines and making sure the system functions, thus an all-out information drive on automation and how voting is done is still to be done.

So why peg expectation about voters’ knowledge of poll automation that high?

No more going back

Admittedly, critics of poll automation have been hounding the Comelec for weeks and are waving the result of the Pulse Asia survey to push for a return to the manual system of voting.

But one point should be made clear: we may have reached the point of no return on the issue of election computerization.

Billions of pesos in public funds have been spent in purchasing the machines and laying down the system nationwide so that dropping everything at this stage may be counter-productive.

While worries that poll automation will result in massive disenfranchisement of voters and that the system could be vulnerable to cheating are understandable, that should not result in paralysis or spark pessimism.

Comelec can pursue efforts to make the setup work while laying down contingency measures.

Help needed

In this context, critics should know at what stage they are of help as a pressure group and when they have become a nuisance.

Of course, Comelec still needs all the expert suggestions it can get but it has become obvious that its main goal now is to make what is already in place work.

Doing that requires warm bodies, especially when the information drive on poll automation shifts to high gear throughout the country.

Indeed, celebrities and media personalities can help in this regard, but if the information drive is all out then groups criticizing poll automation can change tact and also offer assistance.

Instead of spending precious time worrying about whether the automation ship will flounder in the high seas or not, passengers should work together so the ship will make it safely to the port.