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Quick count useless in May polls — Comelec

March 3, 2010 4:02pm

With the results of the upcoming May elections expected to be out in less than 48 hours, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday downplayed the need for a quick count.

Yung quick count, hindi na magiging applicable kasi ano pa ang bibilis dun sa official count na yun," Comelec spokesman James Jimenez told reporters in an interview.

Kaya lang naman may quick count dati ay may slow count, yun yung sa Comelec (The only reason why there was a quick count was because the Comelec had a slow count)," he added.

Jimenez said that with the use of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines, the public would be able to see the results of the counting as they come in.

Upon the closing of the voting period, the PCOS machines will print eight election returns and then transmit the results to the Comelec central server, the media, and other stakeholders as required by the law.

Results out as they come in

The Comelec said it would be posting the results almost at the same time as the data is sent on a secure website provided by poll machine supplier Smartmatic-TIM.

"Pagdating ng election day, yung pinakadatos mismo is available online (When election day comes, the data of the results will be available online)," he said.

It took the Comelec two weeks to declare the complete slate of new senators in the 2004 elections, and two months in the 2007 polls.

"Democratized" counting

Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said the counting is “democratized" under the automated election system.

“You can do your own quick count, you can download the data, any Juan Dela Cruz can do his or her own quick count," Larrazabal said in a separate interview.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez had earlier raised the issue that candidates and their watchers have no way of checking whether the number of votes on the election returns would be the same as what would be counted during the canvassing.

National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) spokesman Eric Alvia likewise said that they insist on conducting a parallel count because it’s always better to have a different party verifying the results of the elections.

Speed vs accuracy

“We’re not after the speed of the results but the accuracy and veracity of the results. We’ve been doing that for the past 27 years now," Alvia told GMANews.TV in an earlier interview.

Last December, Namfrel, together with its co-petitioner the National Secretariat for Social Action Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, filed a petition with the Comelec asking for accreditation as a legitimate citizens’ arm of the poll body.

Alvia said they asked the Comelec to allow them to conduct or be involved in the manual audit and external parallel count for the May elections. But the poll body denied their petition, saying that there was no need for a quick count.

Meanwhile, Jimenez said that the poll body is thinking of issuing guidelines for the reporting of the poll results to prevent trending. He said that it will it is important to specify the places where the votes come from when reporting an initial vote count. - Kimberly Jane Tan/KBK,RSJ GMANews.TV
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