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Archive for July 23rd, 2009|Daily archive page


In Philippine Issues, Politics on July 23, 2009 at 12:02 am

A History of Failure
Poll automation has been in the agenda of most presidents in recent memory. After the chaos of the 1992 elections, administrations hence have since pushed for the automation and modernization of the electoral process. Initial advances, however, since 1995 have been overshadowed by the numerous controversies that have hounded the process since. Automation has succeeded in the ARMM, once in 1997, when results were delivered within three days of elections, however, automation did not occur in 1998, despite the existence of law which mandated it, and was henceforth shelved after the DOST found the machines used in the ARMM elections inadequate. Between the years 2000 and 2004, three bidding attempts have failed, hence both the 2001 and 2004 elections were conducted manually. The last bid in particular, that of Mega Pacific Consortium attracted the most controversy after the Supreme court invalidated the awarding of the contract, citing “clear violation of law and jurisprudence” and “reckless disregard of [Comelec’s] own bidding rules and procedure”. Even the recent automation of the 2008 ARMM elections, which was handled by Smartmatic-Sahi failed to deliver on all fronts – although the voting process was automated, transmission of results from far-flung areas ultimately delayed the proclamation of winning candidates and hence underscored the possibly latent dysfunction of automation in the Philippines. The ASSEMBLY believes that such failures have underscored the fact that the plan to automate the next elections must be scrutinized at the basic level of technical intricacies and in the broader sense – with respect to the consolidation of an overall reform in political systems.
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