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PIA Press Release

Field tests of PCOS machines show system works

Tacloban City (January 28) -- The successful conduct of field tests of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines on January 27 should stop the skeptics from drawing and sowing more gloomy scenarios of failed elections.

The Comelec and the Smartmatic have shown the efficiency of the poll machines and the effectiveness of the system. Contingencies for any possible event that may disrupt the process during election time have been prepared, thus, all these negative talks and thoughts against Comelec and the poll machines must stop.

The field tests were conducted between 7a.m. to 12 noon Wednesday, in 10 polling precincts and nine canvassing centers in Benguet, Cebu, South Cotabato, Pateros, Taguig and Naga City.

In a media briefing, Comelec and Smartmatic highlighted that the field testing proved that voting results from the polling precincts can be transmitted successfully to multilevel canvassing centers using a combination of public telecommunication networks and mobile satellite technologies in just two minutes.

Majority of the reports received from the field stated that the end-to-end testing of the automation system has been successful, particularly the electronic transmission of the election returns or the votes from the polling precinct to the municipal, provincial and national canvassing centers.

The electronic transmission stage is crucial because it will be the determining factor in holding automated polls, since it eliminates the need for board of election inspectors to physically transport the counted ballots from the voting centers to the board of canvassers for tallying in the municipal, provincial and national levels.

Under the new system, results for the national positions are expected to be out in 48 hours, instead of the usual one or two months.

It is impossible to hack the poll machines or change the results to be transmitted within the two minutes owing to several security layers.

Aside from the transmission, personnel from Comelec and Smartmatic-TIM also tested the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines and canvassing hardware, including the basic configuration of the automation software to be used for running the hardware units.

In addition to the laboratory testing and at least two field tests, the Comelec will also hold a mock elections in selected sites nationwide and a test for electronic transmission of voting results in key sites using a public telecommunications network or mobile satellite units.

The final testing and sealing of the machines are scheduled three days before election day. (PIA 8) [top]

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