Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Philippines to hold automated polls in 2013

As collaborators in this blog and strong supporters of the benefits that technology and electoral automation can bring to democracies and their societies, we would like to share this post about the Philippines’ decision of using once again electronic voting for their upcoming national elections:

In 2010, the Philippines caught the attention of the world by successfully holding its first general automated elections. For many Filipinos and to international observers, the exercise was a big reason to be optimistic for it signalled the death knell of the culture of electoral fraud which had long bedeviled the country.

Corrupt politicians have had a stranglehold on this republic’s electoral system for decades, employing their guns, goons, and gold to manipulate election results with impunity.

Then automation arrived and abruptly put a stop to the practice, slamming the door on fraudsters who were so shocked at the speed with which the results were made known that they were left scrambling to find out what hit them.

For the first time ever, Filipinos woke up a day after the elections knowing who their new leaders were. A presidential candidate even went as far as concede just two days later, a practice virtually unheard of in a country where electoral disputes drag on for years.

The automated elections of 2010 have no doubt contributed greatly to restore the Filipinos’ faith in the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the independent body tasked to oversee the nation’s polls. Not only did E-voting’s success in 2010 lead Filipinos to trust the electoral process once again, but it has also engendered among them a renewed faith in democratic institutions.

Armed with the learnings gained in 2010, the Comelec and its technology partner Smartmatic are neck- deep in work ensuring that the next automated polls deliver even more credible and transparent results.

The world, once again, will be watching.