Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Extra Voting Time Increases Election Fraud Risks

Comelec just extended the time for you to vote to 11 hours, justifying the move as an accommodation for new voters. For some, that's okey since it will allow more people to go to the polling centers and cast their votes. I have a different take though.

Historically, the percentage turnout has always hover between 70 to 80% of the total voting population. So, even if we increase the time to vote, the figure will remain the same. The extra time will not really increase the actual voting percentage.

But, that's not the point I'm driving at. My concern is the counting of the votes would probably start at 7pm, meaning after night fall. And you know what it means, right?

Computer machines depend on electricity supply. If there's no electric supply in an area, how would they actually count the votes? Surely, some areas would resort to manual counting. Of course, COMELEC would say that there are generators at hand. What if these suddenly conk out or are physically sabotaged? What then? Definitely, some BEI members would decide to count the votes manually.

Counting these votes under the dead of the night is really very risky. It attracts mischiefs. Knowing how traditional politicians think, they would surely do everything possible to still influence the votes to sway in their favor, inspite of automation.

Likewise, some areas in the Philippines suffer from communication problems. Weak signals occur in certain areas in the provinces after night fall. What then? How then would they solve such a problem like that should it happen, especially when it's already dark.

COMELEC should re-visit and re-assess its decision to give extra time to vote. This is too risky.