Philippines insists no failed vote

The new automated system has long raised fears of fraud and a failed vote, and this week's recall prompted the government to propose delaying the polls by two weeks.

Philippines insists no failed vote

The Philippines' automated voting system could throw up some problems in next week's election, but the last-minute replacement of faulty technology should prevent an outright failure, the election commission insisted on Thursday.

The new automated system has long raised fears of fraud and a failed vote, and this week's recall prompted the government to propose delaying the polls by two weeks.

Voting for the presidency and nearly 18,000 local and national positions is going ahead on May 10 after the election commission (Comelec) decided it could replace more than 76,000 memory chips in vote-counting machines in less than a week.

"There will still be problems admittedly, but what's important is that these problems will have to be solved," Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal told foreign correspondents, adding Comelec had a plan to deal with technical and logistics issues.

"There'll be always variables. There are things that you never expect that can happen. Failure of machines is not a failure of elections."

Jose Melo, a retired Supreme Court justice who heads Comelec, said about 95 percent of the memory cards would be delivered and installed before the vote, but there would be delays in counting about 3.3 million votes in remote and southern areas.

"Elections will still go through at all levels in all polling precincts," Melo told reporters, adding the last of the memory cards would probably arrive on Monday or Tuesday, too late to install and test before voting.

Instead, completed ballots would remain in ballot boxes until the new cards were installed in the voting machines. Then election officials would process the ballot papers, Melo said.

But, nine provinces, including all in the Muslim automous region on Mindanoa, will be affected, raising concerns.

Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino has built a double-digit lead in opinion polls over Senator Manuel Villar, former President Joseph Estrada and six other candidates in the contest for the presidency of the Asian nation of more than 90 million people.


Agencies

Last Mod: 06 Mayıs 2010, 17:03
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