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Press Statement: Movement for Good Governance Stresses Caution with Election Automation

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April 29, 2009

The Movement for Good Governance emphasizes the need for caution in the election automation project. While we are generally in favor of some form of poll automation, we feel that the project should be more focused on the automation of the canvass process, which takes much longer than counting and where more electoral fraud takes place. Historically, counting at the precincts has taken from 12 to 24 hours only while canvassing has taken up to 40 days after elections.

Moreover, we feel that the software and processes used must be made transparent to the public to assure voters that their votes are being counted accurately and that, if results should be disputed, there be recourse to going back to review paper ballots for validation purposes.

Finally, in the interest of fiscal prudence, we feel that the solution eventually selected should come at a price that is reasonable and affordable for the country. It makes little sense to lease or procure a proprietary system whose process is not transparent and comes at great cost to the public.

Ultimately our greatest concern revolves around the country’s ability to mount such a large scale computerization program given the lack of experience in carrying out such projects and in the COMELEC’s already-known deficiencies in information technology infrastructure. The COMELEC’s own internal reports already indicate problems with their IT abilities. The public has the right to know if the COMELEC has addressed these deficiencies.

We understand that the COMELEC is an independent Constitutional Commission and we respect its mandate as such. Following the principles of good governance and social accountability, we will continue to engage the COMELEC constructively to address our concerns.

View MGG’s IT expert Gus Lagman’s presentation on election automation here.


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