Posted by CenPEG
June 26, 2012
The conference room at the House of Representatives’ Mitra building was virtually turned into a demonstration hall as officials of the Smartmatic-TIM showed how a model voting machine will work in the country’s May 2013 mid-term elections.
The House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms (CSER), chaired by Rep. Elpidio E. Barzaga, Jr., on June 6, 2012 spent nearly three hours to allow Smartmatic’s Cesar Flores perform a marketing demo of the election provider’s Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) voting machine using a few sample ballots.
Smartmatic was the technology supplier for the May 2010 automated elections. Leaders of various groups affiliated with the citizens’ election watchdog Automated Election System Watch (AES Watch) filed in April 2012 a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from buying the Venezuelan marketing company’s 82,000 machines. Citing legal and technical grounds, the petitioners argued that the “option to purchase” had expired in December 2010 and that the company should not be awarded with another contract because of non-compliance to election law requirements.
However, the SC in early June ruled in favor of Comelec-Smartmatic although its decision never disputed findings cited by the petitioners regarding the system deficiencies of the technology found in 2010.
At the House demo, leaders of CenPEG and AES Watch along with some congressmen argued for a more realistic demo and for the company to show whether corrections had been made on the various errors and bugs that both Comelec and Smartmatic admitted to have occurred in 2010. Barzaga, responding to proposals from AES Watch, agreed to call the company officials once more when Congress resumed in July for another demo using 1,000 ballots and prove the system’s accuracy, among others.