Random Manual Audit  of  poll results  on today

Published May 15, 2019, 12:21 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

E CARTOON MAY 15, 2019The Commission on Elections (Comelec) starts today the Random Manual Audit (RMA), a process required by the law to assure that the Vote Counting Machines used in Monday’s midterm elections were accurate in reporting the results of the election.

The  Comelec randomly selected 715 polling precincts nationwide. Starting today and for  the next two weeks, the  Comelec  and its citizen arm for this election, the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE), will  manually count the votes cast in the 715 precincts. They expect to do 50 to 60 precincts a day.

The manual count  will  then  be compared  with  the results spewed out by the voting machines last Monday.

 Since automated elections began in 2010, there  have been questions raised by some quarters about the accuracy of the poll counts, especially after seeming irregularities in remote parts of the country. Critics say  the automated system, like any computer system, can be hacked and, therefore, interfered with.

Automated elections, some have  pointed out, were stopped and declared unconstitutional  in  certain countries in Europe notably Germany and Netherlands, on the issue of transparency.

Despite these developments in certain nations abroad, the Philippines has maintained  its confidence in automated elections, especially since these put an end to weeks and months of waiting for final results  in national polls under the old system.

The manual count which  starts today will show if indeed the voting machines  have been tampered with to show results in favor of certain candidates. There may be some differences, as was shown in the ongoing poll protest case between  former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and  Vice President  Leni Robredo,  due to improper marking  by some voters of circles opposite  the candidates’ names.

 “We will report what we see. Whatever the implication is, we will report what we see,” Comelec Commissioner Louie Tito Guia said.

If, at the end of the Radom Manual Audit process, there are there are corrections or adjustments that must  be made, we are confident  the  Comelec  will be equal to the task.  The  important  thing is that the people’s faith  is maintained in  our automated elections, the heart of our democracy.