Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Did SCoRP Not Buy the Massive Failure of Elections Scenario?

OPPONENTS of automating the 2010 national elections have been predicting a MASSIVE FAILURE OF ELECTIONS as a corrupt and incompetent Comelec and "foreign-controlled" Smartmatic are overwhelmed by dried out felt tip pens, yard-long ballots, malfunctioning PCOS machines, bogged-down telecomm facilities, and millions of disenfranchised voters."  

THE VERA FILES Half Truth Is Their Business Manaslatas laid out the possible scenarios: What if the two special felt-tip pens allotted per precinct dry up before voting ends and voters have nothing to write their choices with? What if the counting machine gets jammed when ballots are being fed to it? What if the local GPRS connection is bad and slows the transmission of the results from the precincts to the municipal or city canvassers? Or what if someone snatches the laptop computer at the canvassing center?

But has the Supreme Court bought this scenario? It would appear NOT as there is a noticeable change of tack in this week's salvo from PABLO MANALASTAS, (the I.T. expert of the Center for People Empowerment and Governance) which suggests that the Supreme Court Justices may not have been spooked or impressed enough by the above Failure of Elections Scenario.

So here comes the Automated Cheating Scenario  where a completely transformed Comelec and Smartmatic are about to pull off a Mission Impossible-style Heist of the 2010 Elections with precision and stealth to make Virgilio Garcillano proud:
But these scenarios aren’t as worrisome as what else could happen: The whole system could be rigged, and all computers—from those at the precincts all the way to those at the Commission on Elections and Congress that will canvass the results for the senatorial and presidential elections—could be pre-programmed to make certain candidates win.

How could this happen?

The Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines could arrive at the precincts with prepared ballot images and election results already inputted into the system, and the computers for canvassing with prepared Certificates of Canvass (COC) and Statements of Votes (SOVs). And at any stage of the elections, someone who has the root password could log into the system from a remote site and control the canvassing computers—and the canvassers wouldn’t even know. This could happen as early as municipal canvassing because the computer will stay connected to the network for 24 to 72 hours via modem starting at 6 p.m. of election day.

Meet the automated version of “Garci,” the infamous Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano whose manual operation of swapping genuine ERs, COCs and SOVs with the ones he and his “operators” prepared allegedly helped President Gloria Arroyo get her extra million votes in the 2004 elections. The whole operation was documented in leaked wiretapped phone conversations.

Well there you have it folks: exposed for all of us Blind Dummies by the I.T. Expert of CenPeg writing at The Vera Files. How could we have missed it? We are so stupid! "...someone who has the root password could log into the system from a remote site and control the canvassing computers—and the canvassers wouldn’t even know."

And yet this wouldn't work at all would it?  This brilliant scenario being peddled by The Vera Files and Pablo Manalastas CANNOT WORK as described since Comelec's canvassing computers do not control the canvassing computers of the Dominant Majority and Minority parties, the Accredited Citizen's Arm (Namfrel or KBP), the Kapisanan ng Mga Brodkasters (KBP)--to which the Election Returns from all 82,000 plus PCOS Machines can also be sent in parallel.  In a sense this is the central feature of the Smartmatic system design aimed at the heart of wholesale cheating during the Canvassing stages of the manual election system.  By essentially giving us the ability to distribute the Election Returns in digital form--compleat and unexpurgated--to the above entities the Canvassing Stages in effect become matters of PUBLIC COUNTING. 

This is also the exact opposite of what CenPeg, Harry Roque, Pablo Manalastas, et al have been claiming about the Smartmatic system design.  For the first time in Philippine electoral history, the Canvassing Stages (above the precinct level) are now the subject of PUBLIC COUNTING in the digital age.  For the first time in history, "poll watching" by the dominant parties and citizens watchdogs will be enabled with all of the data on 250,000 voting precincts.  Perhaps "someone with the root password" can log into and modify the Comelec computers.  But even a Brochure reader like me can tell you this is futile since such a person could not also break into the Other Canvassing Computers -- over at Namfrel, KBP and the dominant parties.


Marcus Aurelius said...

Just so I understand. At each precinct COMELEC will have a system to record votes. In addition, competeing parties will have a system installed too?

Interesting solution if my understanding is correct, and one that has its own problems.

Dean Jorge Bocobo said...

Hey Marcus. Not exactly. The voting machines tally up the precinct votes and send that data to 7 different independent servers, which can each do the entire election canvass, at least in theory.

Anon yymous said...

don't forget SUPER-GARCI where all the precinct-level machines are compromised either to to do vote-by-vote dagdag-bawas; or the ballot-boxes anr "electronic-analog" are already stuffed even before the polls open.

Mary Grace said...

Dear Mr. Bocobo,

Apologies for leaving a comment here on an unrelated matter, but I wasn't sure if you were getting my emails and wanted to try all avenues to reach you.

I'm an independent researcher on information and communication technology (ICT) and its impact on society and development.

I’m conducting a study on “Filipino blogging and political participation,” funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada through the Strengthening ICT Research Capacity in Asia (SIRCA) grant program. It aims to: (1) look into the motivation of Filipino A-list bloggers, like you, for writing about politics and public affairs; (2) determine your perception of how your blog affects its readers; and (3) examine how you participate in politics, both online and offline.

I'd like to request your participation as one of the survey respondents for this study. The survey, to be administered via email, can be accomplished in 5-7 minutes. If you're interested, I'll send you the survey form in Word file. Rest assured that your identity and response will be treated as confidential.

To know more about my work, plase go to http://www.linkedin.com/in/gracemirandilla. Read more about the SIRCA grant program at http://www.sirca.org.sg/index.php.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Thank you very much.