Magno continues to push the party line; not even paying attention to trends in how elections are run in the rest of the world. For someone who continually pushes the hackneyed free trade line; his awareness of non-economic related world issues is staggering.
Glitch - FIRST PERSON By Alex Magno | The Philippine Star News Opinion
We went only halfway into the automation process. Instead of going fully digital, touchscreens and all, we decided we wanted paper ballots and a machine that counts them and then transmits the canvass wirelessly.
This brilliant line came courtesy of Magno’s part hit-piece on Comelec and admin critics/Part apology on behalf Comelec and admin/part snarktacular and smug column from today.
Shame on Magno.
First, if he had done his research he would know that almost every country in the world that has gone to touchscreen voting has instead reverted back to paper ballots and machine counted. Simply, they are less prone to voter intimidation and disenfranchisement.
On June 1, 2009 Newsweek ran an article concerning automated (touchscreen) voting:
When Ireland embarked on an ambitious e-voting scheme in 2006 that would dispense with “stupid old pencils,” as then–prime minister Bertie Ahern put it, in favor of fancy touchscreen voting machines, it seemed that the nation was embracing its technological future. Three years and €51 million later, in April, the government scrapped the entire initiative. High costs were one concern—finishing the project would take another €28 million. But what doomed the effort was a lack of trust: the electorate just didn’t like that the machines would record their votes as mere electronic blips, with no tangible record.
We Do Not Trust Machines: The People Reject Electronic Voting
Lack of transparency? No voting record? Ireland rejecting it?
Great to know that Alex Magno obviously knows more about implementing a touchscreen automated voting system than the entire country of Ireland. A country that spent 51 million pounds and still couldn’t get the damn system to work.
What is important to note there is: the people did not understand the system, so they shut. it. down. That is respecting the electorate. Something that has been woefully absent here. Magno’s column is a perfect example. They look at the electorate as sheep; little automatons there to do their bidding (and yes I am including Magno with the administration). Respect them? Pshaw.
Continuing from the same Newsweek article:
One doesn’t have to be a conspiracy theorist or a Luddite to understand the fallibility of electronic voting machines. As most PC users by now know, computers have bugs, and can be hacked. We take on this security risk in banking, shopping and e-mailing, but the ballot box must be perfectly sealed.
At least that’s what European voters seem to be saying. Electronic voting machines do not meet this standard.
A backlash against e-voting is brewing all over the continent. After almost two years of deliberations, Germany’s Supreme Court ruled in March that e-voting was unconstitutional because the average citizen could not be expected to understand the exact steps involved in the recording and tallying of votes.
What people like him and his ilk forget is that the voting process must be understandable by the voter. That is a fundamental part of voting. This is very clearly why this process was doomed from the start: voter education was completely lacking. The automated process was never properly explained to the vast majority of the population; essentially leaving the election (on the electorate side) open to suggestion, coercion and fraud.
Whether it’s new and shiny or not, the election process must be understood by the people. So, hinting with a bit of sneer that we did not go about the process properly and should have gone to shiny touchscreen machines is flawed as an argument. You do not shift a population from paper ballots to touchscreens; especially when more educated populations are categorically rejecting touchscreen machines in favor of paper ballots.
While I have many issues with the implementation of the system by the Comelec; they did do something right in the very beginning. They chose a paper ballot system: a system that is inherently more secure than a touchscreen fully automated system by dint of there being a paper trail and additional redundancies built in. The problem is, the Comelec has been systematically removing those redundancies and security measures in place to ensure an accurate balloting.
That is the issue that Magno and other columnists seem to be overlooking. All of us have wanted the automated polling to work well. The thing is there have been issues cropping up left and right; issues identified by international non-partisan groups as well. Were we supposed to ignore them? Stick our heads in the sand?
Has that not been the problem with this country? Not enough people taking an active interest in the machinations of the government.
None of us wanted the damn thing to fail, all of us still hope it will succeed. What we have been doing is identifying the issues in the hopes that the Comelec will take notice and address them.
They haven’t, and here we are. Still praying, still hoping. In the words of a good friend: Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
It’s what all of us have been doing. And maybe it’s a difference of opinion. For us, the worst that could happen is a failure of elections and the perpetuation of GMA.
For Magno and others? Maybe that’s the best case scenario.