Smartmatic begins electoral automation in the Philippines

Manila, May 09 2008.- Smartmatic SAHI Technology Inc., a consortium comprised of Smartmatic International Corporation (Smartmatic) and Strategic Alliance Holdings Incorporated (SAHI), was awarded the contract to supply the SAES automated election system to the province of Maguindanao, one of the six provinces of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in the Philippines.

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) announced that two distinct electronic voting systems will be used in the upcoming ARMM polls. Smartmatic SAHI bid for Maguindanao involves the use of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) technology with touch screen voting machines in its proposal, while the other system will be of the optical scanner type (also known as Optical Mark Reader, or OMR) for the rest of the provinces. The concurrent use of two systems was recommended by COMELEC’s Technical Advisory Committee to better assess which technology is superior, for a future adoption outlook.

According to the signed contract, Smartmatic SAHI Technology Inc. will not just provide its technology to the Mindanao province, but will endeavor to oversee and facilitate the correct and complete execution of the project in the upcoming elections for the entire six-province ARMM. In general terms, the project includes deploying some 3,050 DRE voting machines and accessories, 274 servers for vote processing and central tally consolidation and reporting; and also will involve more than 600 field operators, help desks for contingencies in voting centers, and election management through the guidance of highly qualified personnel, having ample experience in similar projects.

“This is an historical moment for COMELEC, because we are finally in our way to modernize and automate elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. This process will allow us to have faster and more secure elections; and moreover, it will allow the country to better assess the possibility to fully automate the national elections by 2010”, said COMELEC Chairman Jose Melo.

“The Philippine Government is looking for an electronic voting system that guarantees secure, reliable and auditable elections. We feel honored and confident to have been awarded a contract to deploy our SAES solution in the pioneer ARMM region”, commented Antonio Mugica, Smartmatic’s CEO.

The SAES automated electoral solution, equipped with a voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT), will be fully operative on next August 11, 2008 to elect a Governor, Vice-Governor and several assemblymen for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The ARMM has 1,700,000 voters.

About Smartmatic

Smartmatic is a multinational company that specializes in the design and end-to-end deployment of complex purpose-specific technology solutions. With an unsurpassed technology base, continuous innovation, and quality in processes and results, Smartmatic is organized around three business areas: Electronic voting systems, intelligent and integrated security systems for large enterprises and governments, and advanced solutions for people registration and authentication for a wide range of government applications.

Smartmatic is a privately held company with offices in the US, Mexico, Venezuela, Barbados, Spain, Philippines and Taiwan. It has more than 200 employees worldwide. Its capacity for innovation and wide range of products and services have earned Smartmatic extensive recognition in the technology community worldwide.

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About SAHI

Strategic Alliance Holdings, Inc. (SAHI) is a Philippines's consulting organization engaged in large-scale infrastructure projects. Being in the forefront of public-private partnerships SAHI successfully pioneered Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) and Build-Operate-Own (BOO) projects in the Philippines and is the country's lead advocate for e-Government implementation. Among Sahi's significant projects are BOO computerization of the Land Transportation Office (LTO-IT Project STRADCOM) and Land Registration Systems (LARES) in the Philippines, Metro Manila Skyway, Second Vivekananda Bridge Tollway (SVBT) in India (in partnership with Larsen & Toubro, Pacific Alliance Group, and Parsons Brickerhoff). SAHI was recipient of IBM Corp.'s System Integrator of the Year Award 2007 for the Philippines.