Automated polls in the Philippines 99.6% accurate according to random manual audit
Manila, July 31st 2010.- Smartmatic has lauded the results of the random manual audit (RMA) which showed that the Philippine's first-ever automated national and local election was 99.6% accurate.
Cesar Flores, President of Smartmatic Asia Pacific, said that the results of RMA were the 'best and most emphatic confirmation of what we have promised to the Filipino people -- that the May 10 automated polls were the most accurate, most credible and most transparent elections that they have ever had.'
The audit counted a total of 540,942 votes from 1,145 randomly-chosen precincts nationwide. Based on a Comelec resolution, the audit allowed for as much as 1% discrepancy or up to 5,409 votes.
The results of the RMA however, showed that the actual discrepancy was statistically negligible, with only 0.4% or 2,714 votes differing from the results of the automated count.
'Not only is the variance way below than the tolerance, most of the cases of variance were traced to human errors ' clerical, encoding, or due to of appreciation of markings on the ballot,' Flores said.
He added that the report underscored the danger and difficulty of a parallel manual count. Quoting from the report, Flores said that 'the manual count will always be subject to the discretion of the auditor in trying to interpret and/or appreciate voter's intention. The machine will only count in the way it is programmed to.'
The Technical Working group that undertook the RMA was composed of Amb. Henrietta de Villa, Chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and member of Comelec Advisory Council; Ms. Agnes Carreon, OIC of Comelec's Internal Audit Office; and Ms. Cermelicta Ericta, General Administrator of the National Statistics Office (NSO).
The Random Manual Audit report came on the heels of a survey report released by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) which revealed that 75% of Filipino voters were 'very satisfied' with the conduct, speed and credibility of the May 10, 2010 automated polls.
'I think the people, generally, will want to have automation. There is no going back to manual,' said Comelec Chairman Jose Melo in reaction to the high marks the automated polls received in the RMA and SWS survey.
Smartmatic was the Comelec's technology partner in the May 10, 2010 Automated Local and National polls in the Philippines.