Monday, August 19, 2019

Velez: Rage against the voting machine


“The ultimate insult of my life happened to me this afternoon,” said Phebe Crismo on her Facebook post during Monday’s election.

“I did not vote for Imee Marcos. But her name appeared in my ballot receipt.”

That was just one of many complaints that flooded my Facebook feed on the midterm election last Monday.

Elections is one democratic exercise that people of all walks of life participate in. Whether you are for or against Duterte’s slate, or you want a mix bag of them on your list, you want to get your vote counted.

But the irregularities like the one I mentioned, are just some of the complaints that cast doubt on this election. Veteran editor Vergel Santos noted he came across 40 such reports. I also read some complaint that their vote for Makabayan’s Neri Colmenares was credited to other candidates.

It’s not a glitch in the vote counting machine, Santos said, it must be something else.

We may not be experts in IT, but there are really problems with automated elections ever since we had it in 2010.

On Monday night, the transmission of results stopped for nearly six hours. Comelec said there was an error in the computer but they needed an IT expert to fix it.

But when we are all sleeping, the transmission picked up by 1 a.m., surging up to 90 percent as of 2:30 a.m. But it dropped back to 49 percent when we woke up on Tuesday.

Comelec has not explained why this happened, but such hiccups makes us question now how transparent and truthful is this year’s election.

ACT Teachers representative Antonio Tinio said this automated election is supposed to bring transparency, to stop widespread election cheating of dagdag-bawas and stealing of ballots.

But election watchdogs CenPeg and Kontra Daya noted the automated elections reversed the voting-in-secret-counting-in-public into voting in public and counting in secret. Every election year will find around 200 machines malfunctioning. This year is the highest with 600 VCMs conking out and 1,000 SD cards malfunctioning.

There is no transparency in this canvassing. As we worry how the results showed a sweep of the administration candidates, and Bong Revilla dancing his way to the Magic 12. A pro-Duterte party-list surged to the top of the party-list votes, while the Makbayan groups that topped the surveys have slipped down the tally.

We as voters and citizens cannot accept this kind of results without explanation from the Comelec.

But then again, when the president and his daughter would say cheating is part of the game, we wonder how we got here anyway.


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