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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Supreme Court Orders COMELEC to Print Receipts

Wazzup PIlipinas!

"The COMELEC found itself in a state of emergency on Tuesday, March 8, after a Supreme Court ruling practically required the poll body to overhaul crucial processes that took months to finish." - Rappler

"This may go against the celebratory mood of most people but the SC decision on the printing of receipts as VVPAT mechanism for PCOS might create more problem than solution. Why?

1) As per COMELEC statistics, we have 54.3 M registered voters divided in 92,509 Clustered Precincts (CP), so in theory, you'll have 586 voters per CP. Printing of receipts will take 13 seconds while reading and confirming might take 20-30 seconds (note: this is a conservative estimate not yet considering our special needs sector) so that's 33-43 seconds per voter. Thus, voting time will have to be extended by 19338 seconds (5.37 HOURS)- 25198 (6.99 HOURS). Considering the 2013 elections that operated from 7am to 7pm, we're looking at closing precincts now at around 12AM-2AM.

2) The need to reconfigure 96,096 PCOS considering printing of receipts is not included in the present model. I'm not yet sure if they have to reconfigure the software or/and hardware of the machines.

3) Remember that we are not allowed to bring receipts outside the polling center because they need to be surrendered and put into ballot boxes? Yup, we have to buy those ballot boxes too. Let's assume that 1 CP needs 1 ballot box, so we will be needing 92,509 ballot boxes. 1 ballot box will incur 3,000 pesos ( AES watch versus COMELEC) so that's an additional cost of 277 M pesos for an election that's already spending 12 BILLION already. I'm not yet mentioning the 1.2 M additional rolls of thermal paper.
Last March 4, COMELEC decided to implement the on screen verification of PCOS. What this means is that our votes will be shown to the PCOS screen for us to verify. This is less costly and will add less voting time (13 print and 15 seconds view) and this mechanism is allowed in Roque vs. COMELEC to quote, "In this regard, it may suffice to point out that PCOS, being a paper-based technology, affords audit since the voter would be able, if need be, to verify if the machine had scanned, recorded and counted his vote properly. Moreover, it should also be noted that the PCOS machine contains an LCD screen, one that can be programmed or configured to display to the voter his votes as read by the machine." There’s also no need to configure the 96,609 PCOS given that the current model has already the said feature. Also, we don’t need to pay for additional ballot boxes because we can already verify our votes on screen.

I understand that every vote needs proper verification from the voter as mandated in RA 9369. Also, implementation of VVPAT will surely boost confidence in our election. However, decisions as important as this should have considered operational realities, limitations, and alternatives as all mentioned above. Therefore, printing of receipts is a good option if you still have long time to prepare. But we are 61 days away from E-DAY, and we should be alarmed on the possible repercussions of this decision.

This is my personal opinion as a citizen of this country and as an observer of this election." - Romard Kevin Ramoso
Photo credit: Ballot Boxes by Keith Bacongco

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1 comment:

  1. Why does it take so long to print a receipt? 13 seconds on a modern thermal printer means the receipt must be almost 26 inches long! Is that possible?


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