Thursday, 28 May 2009

Philippine poll body begins machine testing for general elections


THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) yesterday began testing machines that may be used in the general elections.

Ferdinand T. Rafanan, chairman of the special bids and awards committee, said gadgets that can interrupt operations would not be allowed in the venue.

"Everyday gadgets like cellphones are okay but we just want to make sure that the machines are not sabotaged. We will just improve on the deficiencies when it is time for customization," said Mr. Rafanan in an interview on the sidelines of the demonstration.

The machines of single complying calculated bidder Total Information Management (TIM)/Smartmatic would be tested on the following: manual feeding of ballots, speed of scanning, device integration, scanning resolution, level of authorization and authentication, electronic display, accuracy and printing of ballots.

Despite reaching the machine testing stage, TIM/Smartmatic has not yet been declared lowest calculated bidder and would still have to undergo post-qualification proceedings.

Comelec Chairman Jose A. R. Melo told reporters yesterday there are other options in case of failure. "We can have a second bidding, and partial automation is another option." He added the winner should be known next week.

Mr. Rafanan said the chairmen of the congressional oversight committees for election automation have been invited to today’s demonstration.

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