Smartmatic: Philippines now global leader in automated polls
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - May 15, 2016 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines can now be considered a global leader in automated elections,according to an internal memo from Smartmatic, the supplier of vote counting machines (VCMs) used in the May 9 elections.

Smartmatic Philippines project director Marlon Garcia said the country can be proud that it holds the record for having the largest manufacturing and deployment of VCMs not only in Asia but also in the whole world.

“I can’t tell you how proud and fulfilled I feel now knowing that I’ve been part of such an amazing and historic accomplishment,” Garcia said in a memo sent to all employees and technicians of Smartmatic a day before the elections.

He noted why the Philippines can now call itself a leader in automated elections.

He cited the configuration of almost 100,000 VCMs in just over one month; the recruitment, hiring and training of more than 45,000 field technicians in less than three months; the largest broadband global area network (BGAN) deployment in the world; setting up a call center with more than 700 operators in one month; setting up the most complex telecommunications infrastructure for the private election network integrating all the telecommunication companies in the Philippines and foreign satellite providers in less than three months; and setting up three data centers in one month.

The BGAN was used to transmit voting results from over 92,000 clustered precincts all over the country.

Garcia also noted that Smartmatic achieved the “almost impossible task” of printing 56 million ballots in just 49 days in spite of many hindrances such as the unfavorable rulings of the Supreme Court.

The SC required the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to print voter receipts for greater transparency.

On election day, an observer from Indonesia said they may follow the example of the Philippines in conducting elections.

“I’m here to see how people cast their votes and how they use automation of election in a very good manner here. I can tell our people that if the Philippines can do automation in elections, why not Indonesia?” said Dr. Abdul Aziz Ahmad, a former poll official in Jakarta.

Garcia issued the statement after vice-presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. alleged that a “computer fraud” was committed with the input of a command in the Comelec transparency server that caused his close rival, Liberal Party vice-presidential candidate Leni Robredo, to overtake him.

The vote counting for the vice-presidential race stood at more than 96 percent as of press time, with Robredo leading.

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