The recently concluded automated elections in the Philippines were immediately hailed as successful for producing quick and credible election results. Indeed, the counting and transmission of votes were quick. But were they accurate? Some candidates are claiming they were cheated and they say they have the numbers to prove it. Here are some examples:
There are only 50 million registered voters in the country, but everybody was stunned when the original copy of the national canvass report by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) showed that the number of registered voters was pegged at 153 million. The poll body immediately acknowledged the error and blamed a script bug in the report generating programme for the wrong statistic. The agency explained further that its computer added the number of registered voters coming from three servers which multiplied the number of voters by three.
Asked by the media, Comelec also admitted that there were indeed discrepancies in the transmission of results in 195 clustered precincts. This means the data from the election returns in 195 voting centers don’t match the transmitted results in provincial canvassing centers. The media also found out that Comelec had issued a resolution ordering the retrieval of the laptops, memory cards, and printed election returns of several clustered precincts to validate the election results that they had earlier transmitted to Manila. Is this an admission that the problem of inaccurate transmitted results could be worse than what is reported?
Presidential bets Jamby Madrigal, JC de los Reyes, Nicanor Perlas couldn’t believe that a disqualified nuisance candidate garnered more votes than them. They believe that an ‘invisible electronic’ cheating took place in the auto polls. Confident about their claim, they established a website to gather citizen reports of documented cheating in various voting centers.
Since voting results are now online, various groups and netizens have begun exposing some questionable election numbers. For example, presidential frontrunner Noynoy Aquino received 99 percent of the votes in the towns of Montalban in Rizal Province and Ampatuan in Maguindanao Province. Yes, Aquino is popular but is he that popular enough to receive this big number of votes?
Perfect attendance of voters was recorded in 31 clustered precincts, mostly from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Central Mindanao. Comelec is now investigating this remarkable though unbelievable turnout of voters. There was only a 75 percent turnout of voters nationwide.
A labor center alleged that votes for partylist groups have been “ridiculously bloated” by at least nine million the projected number of votes. Before Election Day, there was low public awareness about the partylist system but the labor group was surprised to learn that an unusual high number of votes for partylist groups were recorded in the elections.
The auto polls are now finished but canvassing of results is still ongoing. Most people are satisfied with the election process and the voting results. Foreign media and world leaders have already congratulated the Philippines for the successful conduct of its first automated elections. But reports of auto fraud continue to rise prompting some analysts to rethink their earlier judgment about the auto polls.