Written by Benjamin B. Pulta Saturday, 13 October 2012
Confirmation that the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines which will be utilized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the 2013 midterm elections are in danger of not working well and dooming the 2013 polls due to Smartmatic not being able to correct the system, errors and glitches owing to Dominion Canada that owns the optical scan voting system having abrogated the licensing agreement with Smartmatic.
Dominion gave Smartmatic a worldwide license agreement to market, use and sell PCOS voting systems using Dominion’s optical scan voting system, but that agreement with Smartmatic no longer holds, as the license was cut off last May 2009, which means that Smartmatic Philippines could not even have corrected the flaws for the 2010 presidential polls, since the license was cut off a year before the 2010 elections were held.
Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Gus Lagman was reported to have confimed that Smartmatic filed a case against Dominion, the owner of the PCOS machine technology used in automating the 2010 national elections.
The Tribune’s Friday edition reported that Smartmatic Philippines may be giving the poll body a cock and bull story on its having corrected all system deficiencies and errors of its PCOS machines when “damning evidence” proves that Smartmatic can’t do the job.
The election watchdog Automated Election System Watch (AES Watch) said it has received “damning evidence” showing the
Venezuelan marketing company’s failure to correct the detects of the PCOS machines which were used in the 2010 national elections.
The US-based Dominion Voting Systems, which supplied the election technology to Smartmatic for the Philippine elections, terminated its 2009 license agreement with the latter on May 23, 2012.
As a result, the termination denies Smartmatic access to technical support and assistance as well as Dominion’s proprietary source code and other ‘’escrowed materials” which are vital to correcting and “enhancing” the PCOS system upon request of Comelec in March this year, AES’ Professor Bobby Tuazon said in a statement.
Lagman was quoted as saying that TSmartmatic had never denied that it used Dominion technology, but he also said Smartmatic should either own the software or could have written it.
He added that the Comelec failed to do anything about it. “The problem here is that if Smartmatic does not have the license fromDominion, how can it use the software?” He asked.
In the complaint, Smartmatic alleged Dominion failed in its obligations such failing to deliver fully functional technology for use in the 2010 Philippine National elections, failing to provide timely technical support during and after the Philippines’ election and failing to place in escrow with Iron Mountain International the required source code, hardware design and manufacturing information.
Lagman, who recently joined the poll watchdog AES Watch, said Smartmatic confirmed in its complaint that the Dominion software has defects and said the complaint raised questions about the accuracy of the 2010 Philippine elections.
Electronic poll contractor Smartmatic pointed to its recent successes in the national elections in Venezuela as proof that it will be able to provide efficient services in next year’s mid-term elections in the Philippines.
In a statement, the firm’s CEO Antonio Mugica said the “The recognition of electoral results in record time honors our work and confirms the immense value of a secure, auditable voting technology that’s recognized by all political figures”. The company provided the technology used by the Venezuelan voters who chose their President for the 2013-2019 period.
The event took place in Venezuela last Sunday, Oct, 7, and was the first time in the world that national elections were carried out with biometric voter authentication to activate the voting machines. “Already back in 2004 we conducted the first national election worldwide with printed voting vouchers; last Sunday we proved that we keep setting trends, as we carried out the first national election with biometric activation of the voting machines”, added Mugica.
The Venezuelan National Electoral Council (CNE) worked together with Smartmatic as technology supplier to successfully automate every step of the election. According to Mugica “only when you have an end-to-end automated process, and an exact, auditable technology, you can guarantee that the results will be accepted by all, regardless of how close they are”.
Venezuela used a new biometric voter authentication system for the first time, as well as a newly designed e-ballot working in unison with the 39,018 voting machines that were deployed in 13,810 polling centres.
It was noted however, that Smartmatic Philippines failed to respond to charges raised by Dominion of the presidential elections having had too many errors.