Monday, May 9, 2016

The Philippines sets a new record in election automation

On May 9, over 45 million voters elected their local and national Philippine authorities using 92,509 vote counting machines. This represents the largest deployment of vote counting machines ever. 

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic, who previously organized successful elections in 2010 and 2013, showed again the enormous benefits of election automation and what the technology deployed could mean for the Asia-Pacific region.

To guarantee transparency and the proper functioning of the system on Election Day, several audits, certifications and tests took place during the months leading up to the election. The source code used to run the automated platform was audited for 8 months by a group of experts, which included political party representatives, election watchdogs and authorities.  Additionally, a US-based company SLI Global certified that the source code worked as intended. 

During the voting hours every voter was given a vote receipt showing the selections registered by the system to allow him/her to make sure it was correctly registered. It is important to note that, as a paper-based system, the voter-marked ballot was already a robust auditing mechanism.

This extremely high level of auditability allowed political organizations to check that results matched the will of the voters at the polls, and accept the outcome of the elections.

With this new successful election, the Philippines proved that they are at the leading front of the worldwide trend towards election technology adoption.

The future of democracy is digital, and the Philippines have proved it.