There’s still alot of debates going on regarding the automated system that happened in the May 2013 elections. Many doubted the outcome of the elections due mainly of reported PCOS malfunctions, CF (Compact Flash) Cards corruption or tampering and the reputation of Smartmatic, the company who developed the software.
On my blog Elections 2013: Why Facebook can replace the P9 Billion PCOS Machine, I listed some flaws on the current system and suggested some improvement. It’s not perfect but i mentioned that another factor affecting the outcome of elections is of a moral issue and cannot be solved by any type of technology.
Roberto Verzola, a computer expert, also wrote a couple of papers regarding Automated Elections. He is currently involved in efforts to reform the system of election tabulations in the Philippines through Halalang Marangal.
Mr. Verzola was my mentor back in the Philippines. I started working for him just as I was finishing up my Engineering course. I got fascinated with his work that lead me to specialized in computer communications. During my times with him, we were already communicating with other users around the world using modems hook up to telephone lines. This was way before internet was even available in the Philippines.
Anyway, in his paper which you can download from here ( Roberto Verzola ssrn-id1150274). He had some interesting statistics that can change your perception about electronic voting such as fast results doesn’t mean good results.
This paper reviews the errors and other problems that have actually occurred in automated election systems in various countries. Some problems have been serious enough that countries like the Netherlands have actually abandoned electronic voting machines and gone back to paper and pencil. Other problems have been cropping up with surprising regularity, especially in the U.S., where nearly 90% of counties were already automated in 2007, up from around 87% in 2006. The study of these problems can lead to a deeper appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of automated machines as applied to a democratic process like an election.
If you read on, he was right on all counts on why errors persist in voting machines. Software and hardware errors, human errors, environmental stesses are listed as culprits. This same errors exist during the May 2013 Elections.
Interestingly though, we are in agreement that technology, although can be flawed is just a support to a more credible elections. In his Conclusion:
More than a technological problem, election fraud is really a social problem and therefore calls for social solutions, supported by technological means. The only effective social solution to fraud – in elections or in any other area – is eternal vigilance and punishment for the cheats.