"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Automate It

Sen. Richard Gordon again called for the automation of elections Monday after the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) failed to proclaim the winners in the senatorial race a week after the elections.

“We have a very antiquated system, one that creates and promotes a perception of massive cheating, a culture that creates and fosters electoral violence, vote-buying and disenfranchisement of voters. Enough is enough,” he said.

Gordon, Senate committee on constitutional amendments, revision of codes and laws chairman, blamed the slow count on COMELEC officials who refused to work for the automation of elections.

“I have always said that we should fix the problem and not the blame,” he said.

“But the inaction of the COMELEC on automation, its refusal to even bother to try it in two provinces as mandated by law, has cost us the credibility of yet another election.”

Gordon said automation can be applied during the synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in October this year.

“On October 29 this year, we are holding the synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections,” he said.

“COMELEC has a good seven months to prepare for it. Implement RA 9369. Elections are the bedrock of our democracy.

“A clean, fair and honest election will foster unity among our people. Automation will restore the confidence of our people and the international community in our country.”

Gordon said automated election is a worthy and apt solution to our “messy” electoral process.

“RA 9369, as proposed, requires a verifiable paper audit trail and allows electronic transmission,” he said.

“Within a couple of hours, we will know the results. This will obliterate the tedious and dangerous process of lugging around ballot boxes.

“It eliminates manual mistakes and propagation of dagdag bawas. The old system requires too much paperwork. It taxes our people and institutionalizes vote-buying.”

After Congress passed the Automated Elections Law last January, the COMELEC adamantly refused to automate the May 14 elections allegedly for lack of time and resources, Gordon said.

Exactly one week after the May 14 elections, the counting has not yet been concluded.

Media reports are flooded with allegations of election violence and massive cheating. Edu Punay, Christina Mendez, Joyce Segui

COMELEC canvass delayed

The Philippine Star


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