Poll Automation Bugs

Thursday, May 6, 2010
When I learned about the proposed parallel manual counting to poll automation which was actually supported by some IT groups, I disagreed. It is because I believe that it would only defeat the purpose of automation. And I know that it would likely create confusion among people, certainly because manual count and automation results would produce different outputs. Why? Manual counting as we all know, are in all probability, inaccurate. Another issue, how about votes which are not accepted by the machines due to improper shading and/or unavoidable errors, would these be considered counted votes on manual counting? Would the ones counting manually know these votes are technically invalid? Certainly, these produce dissimilarities on vote counts. Those were my opinions.

And suddenly, a glitch has been discovered recently while doing the sealing of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines of Smartmatic (just google this please). Wrong results were produced by PCOS machines. The machines were unable to read the back side of the ballot papers that are fed to the machines after one casts his vote. This side of paper contains names to be voted in local elections while the front side consists of national candidates. This problem natured from the flash disks which are inserted into the PCOS machines, configured to read the paper, and programmed to determine the votes.

Now, the Smartmatic admitted errors on the configuration of these compact flash disks, and so, they needed to recall more than 76,000 flash disks distributed to all precincts nationwide which means that all these two-months-it-took-to-configure flash disks will be returned to them for reconfiguration that is deadlined before May 10 which leaves every single of us the benefit of doubt or otherwise.

And I was like huh? Didn't they do several tests before deploying these PCOS machines? Didn't they even study quality management plans on this great project of them? And there I am, disappointed.

And now, though I do still not approve of parallel manual counting, what I think is, May 10 will still be a National Elections Day. No postponement should be made. Let it be done. And find out the outcome. There shall be always a lesson learned from every mistake.


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