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 COMPUTERIZED VOTING MACHINE

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THE BEST COMPUTERIZED VOTING MACHINE
 Mechanical leverage machine
 Punch card system
 Optical mark reader (OMR)
 Direct recording electronic (DRE) machine
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mcjilloft
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PostSubject: COMPUTERIZED VOTING MACHINE   Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:31 pm

COMPUTERIZED VOTING MACHINE

KINDS OF TECHNOLOGIES CONSIDERED*


The following include the kinds of technologies considered by the Philippine inspection team during the 15-day inspection trip to the US in October 1993:

1. mechanical leverage machine

2. punch card system

3. optical mark reader (OMR)

4. direct recording electronic (DRE) machine




MECHANICAL LEVERAGE MACHINE


This is a voting machine, wherein a voter would face or enter a cabinet-type booth to cast his vote. All the names are already presented to the voter in the booth, and the voter would just have to push a button corresponding to the name of a candidate of his choice, and pull a mechanical lever afterwards. His vote automatically gets counted.

If one of these machines would take the place of our present voting booths, it would require ten (10) of these to be placed inside a polling place. Considering around 200,000 precincts, the entire Philippines would need about 2,000,000 of these. Even if one machine would cost only P1,000 each, the cost of the machines alone would total to 2 billion pesos.

Furthermore, since this is a mechanical device, each cabinet-type machine would require a very large space for storage outside voting periods.

Aside from its bulkiness and high cost of acquisition, storage and maintenance, this system does not make use of any ballots, since the voter casts his vote directly on the machine. Voting on ballots is still a basic legal requirement of our current election system. In case of election protests that would require a recounting of the ballots, there would be no ballots to recount since the system does not provide for such.

Moreover, during the 1993 inspection trip, many of the US counties which were using the mechanical leverage machine were already shifting from this old system to either the punch card system or the optical mark reader (OMR) system.


PUNCH CARD SYSTEM

This is a voting device, wherein a voter is given a ballot, with hole slots corresponding to the candidates' names, and a puncher (similar to that used by our provincial bus conductors in ticketing their passengers). To cast his vote, the voter has to punch a hole corresponding to the name of the candidate of his choice. A separate reader machine does the counting afterwards.

As with the mechanical leverage machine, if one of these devices would be provided per voter that should be allowed to vote inside the polling place at the same time, then ten (10) of these would also be required per polling place. Another problem with this system is that the punched holes have a tendency of not totally coming off from the ballot, which may not be read by the punch card reader as a valid vote if not properly punched or "holed". This was the same problem that happened in the most recent US presidential election in Florida last November 2000, with its "hanging and dimpled chads".



OPTICAL MARK READER (OMR)


This is a ballot counting machine: wherein a voter is given a ballot, with pre-printed candidates' names, with corresponding ovals to shade or broken arrows to connect. The votes in the shaded ballots would be scanned using an OMR.

This system is already familiar to all students taking the National Secondary Aptitude Test (NSAT), formerly NCEE (National College Entrance Examination), given by the Department of Education (DepEd), and to people taking the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Licensure Examinations and other examinations given by the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC), wherein the answer sheet is composed of ovals and the chosen answer would be shaded by the examinee. A similar system is employed by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) for its Lotto system, wherein the ovals corresponding to the numbers being bet upon are also shaded. In all these, the answer sheets and the lotto cards are read, or counted, by OMR machines.

Since the system makes use of ballots, and also considering the fact that it is already familiar to most members of the electorate, this system was recommended as the most suitable for the Philippine setting. With the use of centralized counting centers, a ballot counter could be assigned to count the ballots from several precincts, or even from a whole municipality, depending on the number of registered voters. The counting machines could also be configured for other purposes, such as for surveys or for checking examination papers, such as the case of the CSC, DepEd and the PRC.

Furthermore, due to the perceived ease and speed of accomplishing the new ballots, as compared to the present writing of names on the current manual ballots, two or three precincts could be clustered to vote in one polling place, which would translate to savings with regard to paying a lesser number of teachers who would serve on Election Day. These teachers would also be unburdened of the task of counting the ballots themselves since this task would be already be done by the OMR.



DIRECT RECORDING ELECTRONIC (DRE) MACHINE


This is also voting machine: A voter is presented with a screen showing all the names of the candidates, much like the locator screens in the Glorietta Shopping Malls. To cast his vote, the voter has to touch the name of the candidate of his choice on the screen, and his vote automatically gets counted.

Although this is the most advanced technology with regard to modernized election systems, this is also the most costly. Furthermore, this system does not also make use of ballots, like the mechanical leverage machine. Therefore, we would be facing the same problem in cases of election protests requring a recount of ballots.

Also in the same manner as the mechanical leverage machine, the DRE machine is intended to replace the manual voting booth. Currently, our system requires ten (10) voting booths per polling place. Doing so would also translate to buying several of these machines per polling place, which would cost more compared to acquiring OMRs for several polling places.

* Source: COMELEC Modernization Project Demonstration Kits (1993-1997)
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