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The Philippines 2016 General Election: Election automation in the Philippines – Get the facts

1. Speed of results

In 2016 results were published in real time right after the first vote counting machine transmitted its election data. The new President was known the same night of Election Day with 86% of votes transmitted by election night. This is an impressive feat in a country spread across more than 7,000 islands and with one of the biggest diasporas in the world.

Speed of results matters for democracy. Faster results mean less instability and greater confidence in the outcome. The progress has been extraordinary – before automation it took weeks to have even an idea of the results.

2. The economic impact of trust

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) notched its biggest 1-week gain after an elections in 10 years. Also the Philippine Peso rose 2.6 % the day after the election.

John Forbes, Senior Adviser at the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, applauded the fast results in the improved Comelec transmission system; Jose Domingo Santiago III, Head of Research at UBS Philippines, explained the peso recovered because the elections were peaceful and credible; Jonathan Ravelas, market strategist at BDO Unibank, pointed at the benefits of the automated elections and the speed of results as main reasons for the  boost to the stock market and the local currency after election day.

3. Peaceful and orderly elections

The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police described the 2016 local and national elections as generally peaceful and successful.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Ricardo Marquez noted a peaceful situation prevailing nationwide and expressed his confidence that “this will be the ultimate outcome until after the entire election process is completed”.

4. Technology is inclusive

The 2016 elections had the highest turnout since 1987 - over 44 million people (81.7 %) voted.

Overseas voter turnout this election was 31.45 %, the highest after 2004, the first year that the Philippines held overseas absentee voting. Comelec stated 432,706 overseas Filipinos voted during the OAV from April 9 to May 9.

Participation rates have increased since automation was first implemented in 2010, reverting a downward trend that was hindering democracy. The confidence of the public in the result and the use of technology helped to enable people all over the country and even those living overseas to make their voices heard.

5. Transparency as a key factor in the acceptance of results

The source code running the platform used in the Philippines was audited for over seven months by political parties, authorities and election watchdogs. The source code was also certified by an independent US-based company.

During Election Day, Filipinos created one of the largest paper audit trail in the history of elections. Over 43 million voter-marked ballots and its corresponding voter receipts, and over 2 million count reports were available for auditing.

6. Audit confirms accuracy of electronic count

The count of the vote counting machines was found to coincide with the manual count 99.884 % of the time in the random manual audit conducted by National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL).

The result of the audit strongly validated the accuracy of the automated election system. The result was so impressive that a statistician working with NAMFREL praised it as “almost perfect.”