2010 elections

Smartmatic passes demo with flying colors

The Smartmatic/Total Information Management Consortium yesterday hurdled tests for the first 6 of 26 criteria at the Comelec-initiated demonstration of its machines that would handle the full automation of the 2010 elections.

The consortium—the lone qualified bidder  which put up a bid of P4 billion lower than the P11.2 billion contract price—will continue to demonstrate its capacity to handle the project in another set of demonstrations today.

The demonstration was witnessed by the  Comelec Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC), whose head on Tuesday said the award would be made on the first week of June.

SBAC head Ferdinand Rafanan said there was no error when the ballots prepared by the Comelec’s Technical Working Group (TWG) were fed into and processed by the machines.

“Of the 26 criteria, the machines passed six of them,” Rafanan told reporters, adding the demonstration went smoothly.

In the demonstration, the machines were tested against six items in SBAC’s 26-point criteria, to determine if the system will allow the feeding of ballots into the PCOS machines.

The demonstration established that the machines can scan a ballot sheet at the speed of at least 2.75 inches per second, with scanning resolution of at least 200 dpi, which are translated into an electronic display.

The process was observed by representatives from  the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, Transparency and Accountability Network, Procurement Watch, Commission on Audit and Office of the Ombudsman and representatives of bidders. as ballots prepared by TWG members were fed into the machines. The machines scanned each ballot and feretted fake ballots.

Rafanan said the demonstration will be completed today.

“We will finish the demonstration (today). There will be some tests, and an end-to-end demonstration will be done,” Rafanan said.

In today’s demo, Rafanan said electronic devices like cellular phones would be banned at the bidding room to avoid interference in the transmission process.

Electronic interference could ruin the preparations to automate next year’s polls, said Rafanan  adding that security against electronic interference is not in the 26 criteria of the Comelec, but would be added when the machines are “customized.”

Comelec chairman Jose Melo said he is very confident that the 2010 polls could be fully automated without the Comelec settling “for less” in choosing the bidder.

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