Phillipines General Election 2010 Dossier by Smartmatic

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A clipping of news, quotes and pictures about the first automated national elections held in The Phillipines in 2010 by technology provider Smartmatic.

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Phillipines General Election 2010 Dossier by Smartmatic

  1. 1. Dossier:General Election 2010The Philippines
  2. 2. In May 2010 the Republic of the Philippines carried out the first automated electionsin Southeast Asia: 82,200 voting machines for 50 million voters, were distributedamong the 7,107 islands comprising the archipelago. Smartmatic won the bid for thisautomation project, the largest that any private company has ever undertaken.After a complex bidding process with the participation of seven suppliers ofautomated voting systems, Smartmatic’s proposal, besides being the most economicoffer, was regarded by the COMELEC’s (Philippine Commission on Elections) SpecialBids and Awards Committee Chairman to be the only one that fulfilled everyrequirement, including the automation of a 100% of voting centers, the capacity toconduct audits from start to finish, full monitoring during the event, and the abilityto obtain results in a very short time. Additionally, per COMELEC’s requirements,Smartmatic’s voting machines were tested many times and always arrived at exactresults.
  3. 3. Scope General Elections 82,200 voting machines were deployed. Each was provided with a battery to guarantee continuous operation for 16 hours in case of blackouts. 1,722 canvassing and consolidation servers and printers with their power generators. 338,750 Paper Rolls for printing of 30 copies of election returns per precinct. 180,640 Compact Flash Memory Cards for secure election data storage. 23,000 m2 Central Warehousing and Configuration Facility completely operational and secure. Over 36,000 schools functioned as voting centers, which were surveyed with state-of-the-art equipment to determine network signals, power availability and other logistical concerns. Over 48,000 Smartmatic technicians were recruited and trained for on-site support before and during Election Day. 690 Call Center Agents were located in the National Support Center during Election Day. 28 multinational experts at the Project Management team, working along 327 highly qualified Filipino employees. 1,500 metric tons of ballot paper. 9,380 liters of ink to be used during the voting process. Over 50 million ballots with security marks with invisible ultraviolet mark and unique barcode. 5,500 mobile satellite antennas and 680 VSAT were deployed nationwide for the transmission of results in the polling and canvassing centers. 48,000 Modems and 46,000 SIM cards were secured for direct transmission of election returns. 2 Data Centers were created to backup nationwide results.
  4. 4. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo voting on Election Day Jose Melo, Commission on Elections Chairman
  5. 5. Igorot tribesman Nicolas Cawed and his daughter Mia Nicole, voting in Baguio city.More than 900 testing and configuration worked readying the machines for the Election Most voters selected Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III as President
  6. 6. Smartmatic trained COMELEC’s personnelWorld Boxing Organization champion Manny Pacquiao celebrates his victory to the Congress, representing the Province of Sarangani
  7. 7. What others said about the ElectionThe following are selected quotes taken from news reports noting officials supporting theuse of e-voting in the election: US President Barack Obama hailed the May 10 Philippine elections as "a model of transparency and positive testament to the strength and vitality of democracy in the Philippines" | According to a press statement issued by the White House Office of the Press Secretary - 06/10/2010 http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/06/10/10/obama-congratulates-president-elect-aquino “The new electronic voting was a great leap forward for ensuring a smooth and protected vote. It was a fulfillment of the automation that we pushed for from the start... To all who made automation a reality and a success, congratulations!! | Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Philippines - 05/11/2010 http://politics.inquirer.net/politics/view/20100511-269405/Arroyo-assures-smooth-transition "I had the privilege of observing the electoral process (…) and was impressed by the manner in which this first nation-wide automated election was conducted. Voters seemed generally comfortable with this new system, turn-out was high, and the automation process seemed to work well, with relatively few technical hitches” | Alistair MacDonald, EU Ambassador to the Philippines - 05/11/2010 http://www.delphl.ec.europa.eu/docs/Congratulatory%20Message%20Elections.pdf “… That’s the beauty of automation. There’s no room for cheating” | Tita de Villa, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) - 05/11/2010 http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=574307&publicationSubCategoryId=63
  8. 8. “The success of the elections would be a feather in the cap of the Comelec,Smartmatic-TIM, the police and military” | Gary Olivar, Deputy presidentialspokesperson - 05/11/2010http://quotes.stocknod.com/stocknod/?ChannelID=3191&GUID=13039898&Page=MediaViewer“I’m smiling again. The automation is a success” | Jose Melo, Chairman ofComelec. 05/11/2010http://ph.news.yahoo.com/mb/20100511/tph-comelec-proves-critics-wrong-020e1c8.html“This only shows that we can pull this through. The conduct of the pollautomation proves our critics wrong” | Gregorio Larrazabal, ComelecCommissioner - 05/11/2010http://ph.news.yahoo.com/mb/20100511/tph-comelec-proves-critics-wrong-020e1c8.html"The Embassy of the United States extends warm congratulations to the people ofthe Philippines for achieving another milestone in their nations democratichistory with the May 10 elections” | Embassy of the United States in thePhilippines - 05/11/2010http://manila.usembassy.gov/p2010_0008.pdf
  9. 9. Media Highlights:Since the day of the Election more than 10,000articles have been published in both local andinternational news outlets
  10. 10. Election heroesChin Wong / Digital Life06/08/2010ONE of the supreme ironies of the last election was how vigorously some IT professionals opposedthe government’s efforts to automate the process.One of these was Gus Lagman, a former IBM executive and one of the founders of STI College,who urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to conduct a parallel, manual count.Another was Manuel Alcuaz Jr., a member of the Management Association of the Philippines, andwho, like Lagman, was an IT consultant for the National Movement for Free Elections.Both were pioneers in the Philippine computer industry.In the hothouse atmosphere of distrust, it was easy to understand concerns about security,hacking and possible election fraud. On the other hand, a parallel, manual count would havedefeated the very purpose of automation and kept Filipinos waiting much longer for the results.To put things in perspective, the Philippines has had laws mandating the automation of electionssince 1997. Still, until the May 2010 elections, we have stubbornly stuck to a manual system that isprone to all forms of cheating. These include the stuffing of ballot boxes with fake ballots; themisreading of ballots during the counting; the snatching, destruction or substitution of ballotboxes; vote padding or shaving, and the falsification of election returns. Because the countingprocess was long and tedious, there were opportunities for electoral fraud at every stage. The longwait for results also created suspicion in the minds of the public that the outcome was beingcooked.Automation was aimed at solving these problems and giving the public fast and credible electionresults. What it was not designed to solve were many other election-related ills, such as votebuying, the intimidation of voters, or the widespread use of black propaganda during thecampaign period. Still, that didn’t stop some election observers from the US and Canada fromdeclaring the automated election a “miscarriage of democracy”—as if these deep-rootedproblems could have been waved away by the use of automated counting machines. These sameobservers pointed to the long lines at the polling stations and the malfunctioning of some vote-
  11. 11. counting machines as evidence that voters were disenfranchised. What they didn’t say was thatthe 300 or so machines that failed and that were replaced represented less than 1 percent of themore than 76,000 that were used nationwide. This hardly constitutes the picture of massivedisenfranchisement that the international observers sought to paint. Nor did it jibe with thecongratulatory messages that the US government and the European Union sent regarding theoverall success of the elections.There was one other election-related ill that automation could not eradicate: sore losers. It’s beensaid there are only two types of candidates in this country: those who win and those who werecheated. With the notable exception of some candidates who conceded gracefully, many losersclaimed that the system was hacked and that they were somehow cheated out of victory. Theseclaims came to a boil when one losing candidate leaked a video of a masked man who looked likea koala bear, claiming that he had rigged the election for some candidates in exchange for millionsof pesos. He offered no proof, then crawled back into the woodwork as quickly as he had surfaced.In the aftermath of all the allegations of fraud, Congress has begun its own investigations. So far,while the probe has uncovered instances of human error, there has been no evidence that therewas widespread fraud, or that the system was ever seriously compromised.One of the security consultants that Congress deputized as a resource person, Drexx Laggui ofLaggui and Associates, concluded that the consolidation and canvassing system that ran onUbuntu Linux could not be easily bypassed, and that the vote-counting machines, which also usedLinux, could not be harmed by Windows viruses.“We were happy to conclude that the Ubuntu machine was a well-configured bastion host,” Lagguisaid, noting that it had been set up by members of the Philippine Linux Users Group who werehired by the government’s IT provider, Smartmatic.“We now know lots of details as to how cheating cannot be done, which answers all of the publiclyknown issues, including those of Mr. Koala Boy,” Laggui added.While the audit of the Smartmatic system continues, the initial findings are encouraging. Despitethe glitches and the expected complaints from losing candidates, the automated system workedfairly well.Whether your candidate won or not, it was a refreshing change to know who did, one or two dayslater.Of course, this is not how Lagman saw it. As complaints and accusations from losers poured in, he
  12. 12. declared that we were no better off today than we were when we had a manual system—eventhough none of the complainants produced any solid evidence of fraud.Alcuaz had a more tempered reaction a few days after Election Day, when the fast computerizedcount made it clear that opposition Senator Benigno Aquino III had won the presidency.“We are happy to be wrong,” Alcuaz said. Then, as a parting shot that seemed to take credit for asystem they said would never work, he added: “There is no substitute for vigilance.”There were many heroes in the automated elections. The voters who waited in line for hours tocast their votes; the public school teachers who fulfilled their poll duties; and the Comelec officialswho refused to back down and return to a manual system. In my book, the naysayers just didn’tmake the grade.http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideBusop.htm?f=2010/june/8/chinwong.isx&d=2010/june/8
  13. 13. Automation gets thumbs upBusiness Mirror06/23/10THE first computerized national elections in the Philippines have made a good impression amongvoters surveyed this month in the National Capital Region, with 97 percent saying they aresatisfied with the overall performance of the poll automation, while 3 percent said they are notsatisfied with it.Prof. Alfredo S. Sureta Jr., executive director of StratPOLLS, said on Wednesday the survey wasundertaken in eight key areas of the region-Caloocan, Quezon City, Valenzuela, Pasig, Pasay,Manila, Makati and Las Piñas-using a sample base of 500 respondents in a metropolis which earliergave President-elect Benigno Aquino III a rating of 46.2 percent of the votes in the premier region.Satisfaction ratings of 100 percent each were registered in Valenzuela, Manila, Makati and LasPiñas. Voters in Caloocan registered 97-percent satisfied, and Pasig 96 percent. Quezon City andPasay scored the lowest satisfaction rating with 92 percent each.Sureta said the high satisfaction for the overall performance of the May 10 automation wasregistered, notwithstanding the fact that voters waited in long lines for their turn to vote,including Mr. Aquino himself, who waited four hours in his own precinct in Tarlac City togetherwith members of his family.One of the countrys four polling firms that tracked presidential surveys with fair accuracyIt will be recalled that StratPOLLS, sister company of the BusinessMirror, Philippines Graphic, dwIZand Home Radio, was one of the countrys four polling firms which tracked and predicted with fairaccuracy the outcome of the national elections showing Aquino leading in all of its five nationalsurvey projects starting in September of 2009 until the pre-election survey of May 2, 2010."Had it not been for Aquinos landslide victory, the automation of the recent elections could havebeen placed under a cloud of doubt, let alone the results," said Sureta.He also said the voting public accepted the results of the poll automation without widespreadpublic outcry or street protests, notwithstanding a wide disparity in the results of the top two
  14. 14. positions where Aquino won by a landslide margin while his running mate Sen. Mar Roxas II lost bya narrow margin over rival candidate Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay.Voting public has matured but..."It appears that the voting public has matured almost overnight insofar as shifting from thetedious manual counting to automation is concerned," said Sureta.Asked if he believed the results of the poll reflected the true will of the people, Sureta said, "Itappeared that cheating was absent, or at least was very minimal, in the May 10 polls,notwithstanding the last-minute problem encountered with the flash cards days before electionday."Although we could expect a lot of headaches in the elections of 2013 simply because those whoreally intend to cheat would have made digital adjustments by then," he concluded.The StratPOLLS survey on poll automation was conducted by telephone from June 6 to 9, 2010,with a margin of error of 3 percent more or less.http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=26876:automation-gets-thumbs-up&catid=23:topnews&Itemid=58
  15. 15. Automated voting jolts Philippine politics into digital ageRoberto Coloma, Agence France-Presse05/14/2010MANILA - Philippine politics will never be the same after the countrys first automated ballotelectrified voters long used to cheating, violence and disputes over delayed results.Senator Benigno Aquino III, 50, whose parents led the struggle to restore Philippine democracy,will soon become the countrys first digitally elected president after a rapid vote count showedhim winning by a landslide.Despite daunting logistic challenges in a sprawling Southeast Asian archipelago with 50 millionvoters, ballot-counting machines were activated just in time for Mondays elections for 17,000positions.The saying that "guns, goons and gold" lord it over Philippine elections may no longer be totallytrue after a new weapon, the microchip, entered the scene."That was so pleasant: waking up to the results the morning after general elections," politicalscientist Alex Magno wrote in the daily The Philippine Star."If there was any group wanting to disrupt the voting and the count, they were stumped by thespeed of the process."In the past, paid thugs as well as rouge soldiers and policemen working for politicians snatchedballot boxes, intimidated voters and doctored tallies.This time, Filipinos were thrilled by the chance to slip their own ballots into digital scanners andknow the results were being stored electronically for delivery to a central computer server inManila, safe from theft and tampering."It was really an overwhelming experience for me because I knew that at that moment, I wasmaking history for the country," said Franz Jonathan de la Fuente, 19, a first-time voter studyingjournalism at the University of the Philippines."I understand that other kids my age during past elections voted manually. Somehow I felt assuredthat through automation, there was a better chance of my vote being counted," he told AFP.The United States and other countries welcomed the overhaul of the flawed election system inone of the worlds most boisterous democracies.
  16. 16. European Union Ambassador to Manila Alistair MacDonald said after observing the election that"voters seemed generally comfortable with this new system" and the process seemed to workwell.Not everybody was happy -- former president Joseph Estrada, trailing Aquino by five million votes,has indicated he will raise technical questions when the Philippine Congress certifies the electronicresults in a few weeks.Violence remained a problem, highlighted by last Novembers massacre of 57 civilians by gunmenloyal to a powerful Muslim politician in the southern island of Mindanao. The clans leaders arenow in detention.Dozens of other people were killed in election-related violence, including 10 on polling day, mostlyin the restive south where Muslim militants and communist guerrillas are a perennial threat.Legacy problems such as inaccurate voter lists also cropped up during the vote and electionofficials admit further improvements are needed.But the country appears to have bought the idea that computers can safeguard democracy.In the old system, ballots were dropped by hand into locked metal boxes and counted by handafter sundown, when mischief was easier to commit in outlying provinces under cover of darkness.Small disputes and transport delays in thousands of polling centers could prolong the process allthe way down to the national tally.Modern-day Philippine democracy can be said to owe its existence to dirty elections.In 1986, the dictator Ferdinand Marcos was challenged in a snap election by Corazon "Cory"Aquino. She was the widow of Marcoss bitter foe, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, who had beenassassinated three years earlier by government troops.Amid massive cheating and protests, Marcos was proclaimed the winner of the 1986 elections butAquino led a "People Power" revolution that sent the dictator into US exile and the widow into thepresidency.Twenty four years later, her son, Beningo "Noynoy" Aquino, is awaiting proclamation as presidentafter the most dramatic reform of the Philippine election system.http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ilRYitMYjeP3mizWE4VbyShEGcrQ
  17. 17. Votes tallied & presidential winner known in record time in Philippines electionSMARTMATIC ELECTORAL SOLUTION DELIVERS FIRST EVER NATIONAL AUTOMATEDELECTION IN THE PHILIPPINESLargest Election Ever by Private Company: Nearly 80,000 Voting Machines DeployedSmartmatic voting solution delivers 100% accuracy, reliability and auditabilityManila, Philippines, May 12, 2010 – In the wake of the first automated national election in thePhilippines, Smartmatic today announced that its voting solution performed with completereliability and accuracy. During the election, the machines transmitted accurately, rapidly andreliably, and after the polls closed, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) certified the results,which were accepted by the representatives of the different political parties.“Today’s election was an important step forward for the Philippines,” said Jose Melo, Chairman atCOMELEC. “By automating our voting process we are able to deliver a faster, more transparentand accurate election and final vote tally. The fact that all parties accepted the results, which havebeen delivered in record time, is a testament to the success of our automated election.”In the closely monitored election, most voters selected Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III as president.The votes were tallied in record time, marking the first-time a victor was known within 12 hours.Additional Key electoral statistics include: • Transmitted Votes: 92% in 24 hours • Machine replacement .59% or 486 PCOS out of 76,347 • First election result report Delivered in 1 hour after closing • Overall Voter turn out 80% • Electronic Voting machines used: 76,347 • Time to Cast Vote: Less than 6 minutes • Voting Machine Support Technicians: 48,000 • Geography: 7,107 islands comprising the archipelagoSMARTMATIC SOLUTION: SIMPLIER, FASTER + MORE RELIABLEThe voters in the Philippines used Smartmatic’s voting solution, which was able to significantlyreduce the time needed to cast and transmit votes. Upon the closing of the polls, the machines
  18. 18. counted the votes within seconds and transmitted the results to the Canvassing Servers. Less than24 hours later, more than 90% of all the results had been transmitted and tallied.This marks a drastic improvement from all Philippine elections to date where it often took monthsbefore the final election results were delivered. In the past, the long delays in election resultsfrequently led to social unrest, disputed results and fraud allegations.“The speed, transparency and universal acceptance of the election results is evidence that ourelectoral solution aides the democratic process,” said Antonio Mugica, CEO of Smartmatic.
  19. 19. Fast count stuns nation05/12/2010MANILA, Philippines—Shell-shocked. Winners and losers did not know what hit them as a barrageof election tallies—first a trickle, then a torrent—confronted them with the reality that thepoisoned political environment had nothing to do with Monday’s automated elections, officialssaid Tuesday.“It was faster than you can say Garci,” said Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Jose Melo,alluding to disgraced former commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, who was accused of colluding withPresident Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to rig the 2004 presidential election, a charge she denies.The first results came from satellite transmissions—the VSATs and BGANs—from mountainousregions in northern Luzon where there were no regular cell phone sites and the voting populationswere small.At 3 p.m. on Monday, as attention was riveted on TV coverage of the chaos and confusion in theheavily populated voting centers, the Comelec decided to convene as the National Board ofCanvassers.The first results were coming in from Mountain Province at that time.From then on, the transmission turned swift and steady, said Henrietta de Villa, chair of theChurch-led Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), the Comelec’s citizen’s arm.“It was better than expected,” she said.At around 7 p.m., officials of Smartmatic-TIM, the Comelec’s automation partner, announced that10,000 precincts had already transmitted results and had printed 30 election returns. By midnight,57 percent of the precincts had reported results.Cesar Flores, the company spokesperson, said that 92 to 95 percent of the results should be in byTuesday midnight.Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said that defeated candidates were “a little shell-shocked”when they realized that they had lost the race in just a few hours.
  20. 20. “The candidates, all of them, were taken by surprise,” Jimenez said.“In the past, they still had time to manipulate the outcome,” said Ramon Casiple of the Comelecadvisory council.“That is not the case now,” Casiple said, comparing the electronic vote with the previous manualexercise.Doomsday scenariosBefore Monday’s elections, talk was rife that the President was on overdrive scheming to remainin power beyond her term ending next month, that glitches would reach such a scale that therewould be a failure of elections, that an operation plan was in the works for a takeover by a militaryjunta.The political speculation made preparations for the balloting difficult, Flores conceded.“Some people said we were going to cheat for somebody,” Flores said. But no politician evenattempted to approach the company to rig the vote, he said.“There was a lot of noise and a lot of wrong accusation. The job speaks for itself. All ourprojections came true. We never lied to the people. We never overpromised anything,” he added.Flores said that in spite of the last minute glitches—the recall and replacement of the memorycards for the 76,300 counting machines at the eleventh hour last week—the event turned into a“great project.”“I would say our work in this election would give us credibility,” said Melo at noon Tuesday witharound 75 percent, or about 30 million, of ballots cast counted.Lessons learnedCommissioner Rene Sarmiento said that the quick delivery of results was “a big step forwardtowards the restoration of the credibility.”“By this election, we are learning. There are glitches we have to remedy in future elections. Inother words, we know now where we were short,” said Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer.Sarmiento said the complaints about long queues, problems with counting machines and allegeddisenfranchisement would all be considered “raw data to improve and enhance our electoralprocess so that we can provide a robust democracy for the Philippines.”Turning to recent history, Melo recalled many instances when local Comelec officials were racingto proclaim candidates, even without a sufficient partial count to make this conclusion.
  21. 21. “But here, under this system actually, there can be no proclamation unless there is a 100 percentcount,” Melo said.“The process in 2007 was quite tortuous and cumbersome,” Sarmiento said. “All ballot boxes haveto be opened, to be examined carefully piece by piece. It was a very long process and objectionswere made by lawyers left and right.”Birth painsUnder automated elections, Sarmiento said the Comelec would now proclaim winners based onelectronically transmitted data in a process faster than the old manual system.Ferrer said he still expected protests. “This is a free country.”The automation technology worked, said PPCRV’s Clifford Sorita. “Some glitches had to beadjusted, but these are birth pains,” he said. “We are learning.”At the morning session of the canvassing for senatorial and party-list candidates, Melo abruptlycalled off the proceedings amid grandstanding by some lawyers.Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal had suddenly approached the microphone and demanded theexamination of the sealed envelopes opened with electronic user’s names and passwords.“These proceedings are taking longer than the automation,” he said, banging the gavel andsuspending the canvassing until the afternoon.http://politics.inquirer.net/politics/view/20100512-269508/Fast-count-stuns-nation
  22. 22. US, EU hail democratic milestone of Philippine pollsabs-cbnNEWS.com05/11/2010MANILA, Philippines - The United States and the European Union on Tuesday hailed theoverall conduct of the Philippines first automated election and said it looked forward toworking with the new leader of a key Asian ally.The US Embassy in Manila said it sent 120 observers across the country "to witnessPhilippine democracy in action.""While there are always lessons to be learned, our overwhelming impression is that thePhilippines has much to be proud of today. Philippine citizens served their nation byvolunteering at the polls, exercising their right to vote, and taking every step necessary toensure all ballots were counted," the embassy said.It added: "We look forward to a smooth transition and, after June 30, to working with thenew Philippine government to deepen the friendship and partnership between our twonations."For his part, EU Ambassador to the Philippines Alistair MacDonald said he personallywitnessed how smooth and generally trouble-free the election was on Monday."The elections of May 10, the high voter turnout and the admirable patience shown by thevoters were an impressive proof of the resolve of the Philippine people to have their voiceheard in both national and local politics," he said in a statement.He added: "I had the privilege of observing the electoral process in both Cavite andBatangas yesterday and was impressed by the manner in which this first nation-wideautomated election was conducted. Voters seemed generally comfortable with this newsystem, turn-out was high, and the automation process seemed to work well, withrelatively few technical hitches."
  23. 23. The Ambassador noted that many of his colleagues from EU Embassies had also observedthe elections, at various locations in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao, and all hadappreciated the smooth conduct of the voting process overall. "Despite the intense heat,the long lines and the inevitable unfamiliarity of a new process," he said, "ourobservations suggested that this process was carried out smoothly, and the resultstransmitted rapidly, in the great majority of cases."He expressed concern, however, about reports of electoral violence both on and beforevoting day. He said these detracted from an otherwise ground-breaking event inPhilippine electoral history, and expressed the hope that the authorities would follow upquickly and effectively to bring the perpetrators to justice.With just five million votes to be tallied, officials said Benigno Aquino III, son of lateFilipino democracy icons Ninoy and Cory Aquino, has a 4.5 million-vote lead over deposedformer president Joseph Estrada. Other candidates have conceded.Election day was marred by scattered violence that left 10 people dead, but thegovernment pulled off the automated vote with minimal disruption. With Agence France-Pressehttp://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/05/11/10/us-eu-hail-democratic-milestone-philippine-polls
  24. 24. Comelec proves critics wrongManila Bulletin05/11/2010They were criticized, they were under extreme pressure, and they were almost ostracized.But in the end, the Commission on Elections (Comelec), its officials and staff had the lastlaugh.Doomsayers and critics were silent – at least for now – as their worst predictions thatthere would be massive cheating and failure of elections in the May 10 polls did not cometo pass.“I’m smiling again. The automation is a success,” a visibly relieved and more relaxedComelec Chairman Jose Melo said a few hours after the voting period closed and resultsstarted pouring in.“This only shows that we can pull this through. The conduct of the poll automation provesour critics wrong,” Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said Monday night as heassessed the conduct of the polls. Larrazabal heads the poll body’s steering committee forthe Automated Election System (AES).While there were reports of frustrated voters not finding their names due to the clusteringof the precincts, and irate people opting not to vote anymore because of the long queuesin polling precincts, such complaints far outweigh the benefit of automation.For the first time since the country exercised its first democratic elections, winners – andlosers for that matter – are known and proclaimed in record time this time around.Overcoming obstaclesThe road to automation was not an easy task. Delays, concerns on the preparations andlogistics and questions of the system bugged the project. A week before the elections,tension rose following the glitches in the configuration of the memory cards for thePrecinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines.
  25. 25. To critics, the AES was a disaster waiting to happen.They were wrong.Pulling what some may describe a miracle, Comelec and the winning consortium,Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM), proved that clean, honest, and orderlyelections can be pulled off.On election day, some 465 PCOS defective machines were reported by the poll body butLarrazabal said it was relatively small compared to the 75,882 number of machines thatdid not malfunction.“Its not a bad number,” said Larrazabal on the 0.6 percent malfunction rate of the PCOSmachines.Just a few hours after the last precinct has closed at 7 p.m., tabulated election results inthe national level – something unheard of and impossible to happen – were beingtransmitted to the consolidated canvassing system of the Comelec.At around 10 p.m., the Comelec has been reporting millions of counted votes in thepresidential, vice presidential and senatorial races, marking a new page in the country’selectoral history.For the time, Filipinos have a clear idea on who are leading in the race just before they callit a night.Winners and losersNacionalista Party (NP) bet Senator Manuel “Manny” Villar has accepted defeat Tuesdaymorning, as more than half of the votes are transmitted to the poll body, easing tensionand providing relief.Smartmatic-Asia President Cesar Flores attributed the huge voter turnout to theintroduction of the voting machines.“It contributed to the higher turnout of voters. Many people were satisfied with thesystem. It showed the democratic sentiment of the Filipino people,” said Flores.Winning candidates in the senatorial race, which the Comelec will proclaim, are also beingannounced.
  26. 26. Although results are being announced by the Comelec in the presidential and vicepresidential race, only Congress, convening as the National Board of Canvassers, canofficially proclaim the winners in the top two posts.The biggest winner in the first automated elections are the Filipino people who reposedtheir trust to a new system, after years of enduring the slow and torturous manual count.The inconvenience they had to endure in Mondays elections – from searching theirnames to the long lines, not to mention the punishing humidity and heat, was all worth itto many voters.For instance, at the precinct for Barangay Almanza Dos in Las Pinas City, Rolando Velarde,a landscaper, said he was more than satisfied with the holding of the first automatedelections as it marks a new beginning to ensure a clean and honest elections.“The automated elections has given us a new hope for a cleaner elections in the future aslong as we remain vigilant in safeguarding the sanctity of this exercise,” he said.At least this time, the country is not the laughing stock of the rest of the world. Filipinoshave something new to be proud of.http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/256929/comelec-proves-critics-wrong
  27. 27. Smartmatic signs record $150 million voting contract for the elections in the PhilippinesManila, Philippines, July 10th, 2009. - The Commission On Elections (COMELEC) of thePhilippines signed today a contract for the automation of the 2010 National Elections withSmartmatic, the winning company of this landmark bidding process. The contract toprovide voting machines, consolidation platforms and roll-out services, is the largest everin its class awarded to a private company in the electronic voting industry.Smartmatic, a world-class leading supplier of electoral solutions and services, won the bidto carry out the 2010 Election project in the Philippines. In what will be one of the largestnationwide automated elections in the world, the contract worth approx. U.S. $150million states that Smartmatic is to deploy 82,200 SAES1800 voting machines across asizable proportion of the 7,107 thousand islands comprising the territory of thePhilippines, and transmit all results electronically to over 1,700 canvassing andconsolidation centers. In addition, it will train and place 45,000 support technicians, andmanage all logistics and technical contingencies during the project, with the target ofenabling electronic voting to some 50 million voters, including even those living in remotelocations and difficult terrains.The COMELEC held an arduous selection process with seven companies bidding over thecontract to automate the 2010 elections. After over four weeks of thorough analysis thatincluded stringent legal, technical and financial evaluations, Smartmatic was declared thewinner, as its proposal was the most technically qualified and at the same time the lowestbid while simultaneously meeting all of COMELEC’s criteria, including ballot readingaccuracy, end-to-end audit capability, full event monitoring, and the capacity to arrive atfinal results within timely limits.Smartmatic based its offer on its state-of-the-art electronic voting technology, which iscompletely compliant with the high standards set by the COMELEC to tackle the complexelections of 2010. “The[Smartmatic] machines were tested four times and in all thosetimes, the accuracy rating was 100 percent” said Ferdinand Rafanan, COMELEC’s SpecialBids and Awards Committee Chairman.“Due to the specific conditions of the Philippines, both in terms of geography and theexpectations of the Filipino people of having a modern electoral system, the 2010automated elections will prove to be a landmark project; one we will take on with all ofour resources and commitment. The result will be a seamless and reliable election that will
  28. 28. become a world reference for others to follow. We are thankful to the COMELEC and thepeople of the Philippines for the confidence they have deposited in our organization” saidAntonio Mugica, Smartmatic’s CEO.Smartmatic has successfully deployed its electronic voting technology in multiple electoralprocesses in the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia, accurately countingover 150 million votes, always with the provision of an auditable paper trail, and opensource-code reviews. Last year, the Smartmatic electoral technology was used in theelection in the ARMM region in the Philippines, an event the COMELEC regarded as verysatisfactory, and first of its kind in South East Asia.
  29. 29. US mission cites Comelec, SmartmaticManila Bulletin07/11/2011MANILA, Philippines — The hard work put up by the Commission on Elections (Comelec)and its systems provider Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corp. to make theMay, 2010 automated polls a success has been cited by an American-led poll observationmission.The Carter Center, in its 70-page final report on last year’s Philippine elections, particularlycited the balloting which was “marked by relatively high public confidence and trust in theuse of the optical mark recognition technology.”“Such a success is a credit to the hard work of Comelec and Smartmatic as well as thecommitment of the people of the Philippines toward increasingly transparent elections,” itsaid in its final report which was released recently.The report also includes recommendations for further enhancing popular backing forcomputerized voting, including the overhaul of the 1985 Omnibus Election Code to clearthe way for “a single, comprehensive electoral law that fully considers and integratesprovisions for automation” and responds to the country’s “changing electoral structureand use of automated voting.”“The creation of a comprehensive election law encompassing the amendments regardingelectoral technology would improve the transparency and efficiency of future electionprocesses,” said Carter Center, a veteran of 80 election observation missions in 30countries since its inception nearly 30 years ago.“As Comelec becomes more familiar with running an automated election, the body shouldtake specific and measured steps to build institutional capacity around theimplementation of the AES(automated election system),” the Carter Center proposed.
  30. 30. This, aside from training the Comelec commissioners and BEI officials in electronic votingtechnology as this will help increase public confidence in their ability to administerautomated elections.The Carter Report also recommended the following: providing “adequate time” in futureelectoral calendars for the implementation of all stages of automation, increasing thenumber of polling stations and dividing larger clustered precincts to minimize delays in thevoting process; and encouraging poll candidates and political parties to participate in pre-election AES review and testing to further bolster public confidence in, and increase publicawareness and understanding of, the AES system.Meanwhile, the international effort organized by the Carter Center was described in theCarter Report as a “limited technical election observation mission” because instead ofcovering all aspects of the elections, its baseline survey was focused only on automatedelection technology and its impact on the Philippine electoral process.It was the third such technical observation mission organized by the Carter Center,following its earlier delegations that observed the national elections in Venezuela in 2006and in the US in 2008.The observers in the 2010 Philippine mission were Michael Hunter, Duncan Osborn,Karthik Rangarajan of the Georgia Institute of Technology; Karen Ogle and Joyce Pitso ofthe Electoral Institute for the Sustainability of Democracy in Africa (South Africa); andPeter Wolf of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (Austria).Alongside its six-member observation delegation, the Philippine mission had a technicalteam and staff that conducted field work for three months during the preelection andpostelection periods from March to June last year.Founded in 1982 by former US President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn inpartnership with Emory University, the primary goal of the Carter Center is to advancepeace and health worldwide.http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/326379/us-mission-cites-comelec-smartmatic
  31. 31. Comelec, Smartmatic lauded by poll watchdogManila Standard Today07/11/2011AN international election observation mission led by former US President Jimmy Carterhas cited the Commission on Elections and its private partner Smartmatic-TotalInformation Management Corp. for the country’s first-ever automated voting last yearthat was “marked by relatively high public confidence and trust on the use of the opticalmark recognition technology.”Smartmatic-TIM leased to the government its Automated Election System and the 82,000Precinct Count Optical Scanners for balloting task.The mission led by Carter Center, a global peace and health advocacy nongovernmentorganization based in Atlanta, Georgia, lauded the 2011 polls as “generally successful,with Comelec and the technology vendor working in concert to provide necessaryassistance to poll workers through written instructions expert assistance, and a nationalcall center.”The mission recommended the overhaul of the 1985 Omnibus Election Code to clear theway for “a single, comprehensive electoral law that fully considers and integratesprovisions for automation” and responds to the “changing electoral structure and use ofautomated voting.”The Center’s findings on high public confidence and trust buttressed the results ofseparate postelection opinion surveys by Social Weather Stations, Pulse Asia andStratPOLLS, indicating support by the Filipino majority for the outcome of the automatedpolls.http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideMetro.htm?f=2011/july/11/metro3.isx&d=2011/july/11
  32. 32. Voter education campaign carried out by Smartmatic
  33. 33. Smartmatic and COMELEC’s joint voter education campaign; Published in Philippines’s newspapers
  34. 34. Smartmatic and COMELEC’s joint voter education campaign; Published in Philippines’s newspapers
  35. 35. Smartmatic’s work in numbers; published in Philippines newspapers

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