Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thinking Out of the Box 32

Automated Polls in the Philippines: An after-thought

The recent poll exercise was a mixture of adventures and misadventures for the Filipino people. Many were overjoyed with how fast the results were coming in, forgetting all the hassles during the voting hours. However, I have a few questions in mind, and I hope that the concerned authorities will answer for public interest.

1. How can the public be assured that the automated counting is the correct count?

2. To which standard should we counter-check the results?

3. Is it not possible that pre-generated results are already installed in the machine-controlled counting?

In the field of research, the quality of any new modality or technology should be compared to an accepted gold standard. In our case, we cannot help but scrutinize the results. Speed is not the end-all of the elections.

4. What if the results were not the actual results?

5. What if someone had manipulated them?

6. What assurance does the nation have?

As I have suggested in previous Facebook wall postings, the Philippines should have started the new technology from the smallest unit of government, that is, the barangay level, and later on working up to reach the national level.

In my mind, the new results should be counter-checked through the manual count. Otherwise, we have just created a whole new fiasco.

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