The worries over the reliability of the automated election system which will be used for the first time during the May 2010 national and local elections has galvanized the sentiments of some sectors of the public to conduct a parallel manual count.
While the intention is good and deserves merit, I’d leave its legality to the experts and instead dwell on the possible pro’s and con’s.
The popular logic is that the automated election system has yet to win over the public’s complete trust because of the experienced problems with the PCOS machines, the glitches in printing of the ballots themselves, fears of power failures, hack attacks on the system and how the COMELEC has been conducting the preparation and implementation of the country’s first ever automated elections, a parallel manual count would ensure that the results are credible and accurate.
This logic rests on the fear that those problems would indeed manifest themselves on Election Day and at worst, put the results of the elections in doubt.
However, if we reverse the logic, say trust that the automated election system would perform satisfactorily on election day with the results being made available, because of the sheer speed of the automated election system in tabulating and consolidating the election results, within a
week at the most of closing of the polls and leaving the progress of the parallel manual count in the dust.
And once the results from the parallel manual count is out but is not consistent with the results of the automated election system, which one is then to be taken as credible and reflective of how the electorate really voted?
Say for example, that in the automated election results, Manny Villar wins the Presidency while Mar Roxas wins as Vice President but the results of the parallel manual count shows that Noynoy Aquino won as President while Loren Legarda bags the Vice Presidency. The difference between the two results is around 20%, what will happen next? Your guess is as good as mine.
So while writing this post, I asked a friend this question: “After Election day, which of the results would you believe as the real one, the results of the automated election system or the one from the parallel manual count?”
His answer was straightforward, “the manual count”.
If you were to be asked the same question, what would your answer be?