Mister Chairman, Honorable Members of this Committee Please Defend the Ballot against the Miscounting of Votes by the SMARTMATIC-PCOS Machines

By Felix P. Muga II, Ph.D.
Resource Person, Committee on Suffrage and Election Reforms, House of Representatives Senior Fellow, Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) Associate Professor, Mathematics Department, Ateneo de Manila University February 16, 2011

The Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Comelec in the bidding for the automated election system in the May 2010 synchronized local and national elections specified an accuracy rating of 99.995% for each PCOS machine in counting the votes and in producing the electronic copy of the Election Returns of a precinct. This means that out of 20,000 voting marks that shall be appreciated by each PCOS machine, it shall miscount only 1 voting mark.

The Random Manual Audit (RMA) commissioned by the Comelec showed an average accuracy rating of 99.6% of the SMARTMATIC-PCOS after conducting a series of validation of the large variances between the PCOS Count and the RMA Count initially on June 17 and finally on July 7. A 99.6% accuracy rating is equivalent to 80 miscounts for every 20,000 voting marks appreciated by a SMARTMATIC-PCOS machine.

The total number of ovals that was shaded in the May 2010 elections per voter ranges from 24 to 34. One valid shaded oval is equivalent to one valid vote. Thus, each voter in the last election had 24 to 34 votes.

For computational simplicity, let us assume that the average number of votes per ballot is 28.

The actual sample size of the RMA for the AES of 2010 is 1,046 precincts covering 540,942 ballots. Thus, it is safe to say that the average number of ballots per precinct in the AES of 2010 was 517.

Hence, the average number of votes per precinct of the AES of 2010 is 14,476. At 14,476 votes per precinct, the 99.995%-accurate PCOS machine will miscount 0.72 votes only. This is less than one vote. Thus, the ToR-specified PCOS machine is practically error-free.

However, at 14,476 votes per precinct, the 99.6%-accurate SMARTMATIC-PCOS machine miscounted 57.90 votes or 57 votes. Since there are 76,347 precincts, it follows that the 99.6%-accurate SMARTMATIC-PCOS machines miscounted about 4,351,779 votes.

An incorrect appreciation of a vote by a PCOS machine has three possible consequences:

  1. The BAWAS effect: A voter correctly shaded the oval for a certain candidate, but the PCOS machine neither counted it as one additional vote for the candidate nor added the vote to any rival candidate.
  2. The DAGDAG effect: A voter did not shade any oval for the candidates in a certain position, but the PCOS machine appreciated one empty oval as a correctly shaded oval of a certain candidate in that position, and added one vote to the candidate.
  3. The DAGDAG-BAWAS effect: A voter correctly shaded the oval for a certain candidate, yet the PCOS machine did not count it as one additional vote for the candidate but counted it instead as one additional vote of a rival candidate.

At the moment we do not know yet whether the DAGDAG-BAWAS effect of the SMARTMATIC-PCOS machines in the last elections which led to the miscount of about 4,351,779 votes was directed for or against a certain candidate or candidates, or DAGDA-BAWAS effect was just the result of the inherently and critically flawed PCOS machine. But what is certain here is that the SMARTMATIC-PCOS machine contains many errors, and the SYSTEST report even confirmed the veracity of this claim.

Most of these errors are inherent in the internal programming of the machine which cannot be corrected in 6 months as assessed by our computer experts if it is used for the ARMM elections in August 2011.

Even if the DAGDAG-BAWAS effect was deliberately directed, the SMARTMATIC-PCOS machines could not miscount the votes of the May 2010 elections, if the vulnerabilities of these machines were addressed by the Comelec seriously and corrected instead of instituting "compensating controls" which could not really solve the errors even if these controls were installed in the last elections. There was no SOURCE-CODE review by the political parties and election watchdogs on the PCOS, CCS, and the SERVER machines; the digital signature was not implemented; the 99.995% accuracy rating was ignored; the website for the election results did not meet the standard for research, like incomplete data or no data at all in more than 12,000 precincts, etc. In the coming ARMM 2011 elections, the use of the 99.6%-accurate SMARTMATIC-PCOS machines was endorsed by the advisers of the Comelec which is now buying these machines.

The Comelec failed to see that with the 99.6% SMARTMATIC-PCOS accuracy and with about 1.9 million ARMM registered voters, the possible number of miscounted votes by these machines will be 7,600 votes. Therefore, a candidate for the regional-wide position must target a winning margin of more than 15,200 votes in order to overcome the DAGDAG-BAWAS effect of the PCOS machine.

I sincerely hope that the SMARTMATIC-PCOS-powered ARMM 2011 elections will be peaceful.

We must defend our votes against the DAGDAG-BAWAS effect of the SMARTMATIC-PCOS machines.

Those who are responsible for the desecration of the sanctity of the ballots of the Filipino people in the May 2010 elections must be held accountable.

Those who are responsible for using the SMARTMATIC-PCOS machines for the ARMM 2011 elections mus be denounced for not protecting the voting rights of our Muslim brothers and sisters.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for giving me this opportunity to share with you and with the members of the Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms my studies on this issue.

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