Claims of election ‘success’ should be qualified, UP-based think tank says
The efforts of thousands of teachers who served as poll inspectors to pull through the May 10 elections despite the odds are heroic and highly commendable. Indeed, the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) said today, their patience and creative intervention even without enough Comelec training prevented the automated elections from turning into a civil disorder. This, coupled with the millions of voters who trooped to the polls as early as 5 a.m. to make sure they are part of the first automated elections to take place in the country.
CenPEG’s director for policy studies, Bobby Tuazon, however, cautioned the public against accepting hook, line and sinker Comelec’s claim of ‘success’ and ‘celebration of democracy’ until the poll body can answer the following questions:
First, election results were being publicized right after polls closed last May 10 but reports from the provinces, including those filed by CenPEG’s field researchers, showed a significant number of transmission failures or delays in many provinces such as in the Cordillera, Abra, Ilocos region, Masbate, Samar, and parts of Mindanao this morning. There is no basis for publicizing national election results when votes from the provinces remained un-transmitted and incomplete, Tuazon said.
Second, the claim of automation success should be based also on the turnout of voters and the number of electorate who were able to vote. Definitely Comelec’s pre-election forecast of 85 percent turnout is now overridden by reports indicating a turnout of about 70 percent with the number of actual voters significantly lower, Tuazon said. CenPEG’s initial reports show that a big number of voters were disenfranchised for varied reasons, he added. ‘Automation was supposed to make voting easier and to accommodate all voters but the election day scenarios proved otherwise,’ he said.
Third, why were UV scanners not used in many clustered precincts all over the country on May 10 when these were supposed to be part of Comelec’s continuity plan to check the authenticity of ballots’ Why has Comelec not revealed up to now whether it was able to conduct final testing and sealing (FTS) activities prior to th e voting on account of its failed May 3 FTS operations?
Fourth, the accuracy and integrity of the election results need to be established convincingly by Comelec. Considering that the poll automation overlooked many legal procedures, requirements, and safeguards including the source code review, voter’s verification feature, the generation of secret keys solely by the BEIs, and other lapses are compelling grounds for the poll body to establish public confidence in the May 10 results. ‘A process that is inherently flawed, is infirmed, and compromised cannot make the election results accurate let alone credible,’ Tuazon said.
The fast results may be ‘stunning,’ as claimed by many quarters, but the integrity of such results is more critical, the CenPEG political analyst said. ‘Comelec aimed to make the election fast but voters’ rights were sacrificed with many requirements disregarded,’ Tuazon said. All premature claims of ‘success’ only tend to gloss over the more fundamental aspects of the election, he added.
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip in May 14th 2010