Press Release
November 8, 2006


Senator Richard J. Gordon, Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws, visited the United States (US) yesterday in the thick of the mid-term elections to observe the effectiveness of the automated electoral system being used in the US, particularly in San Francisco and San Mateo, California, to verify the feasibility of automation in Philippine elections.

The voter verifiable paper audit trail feature of our Automated Election Bill is actually at par with the system being used in the US. We are going to use this to tighten our system and guarantee the security and integrity of the votes. I dont know what we are so afraid of. So many countries are already using automated election systems, why cant we do the same in the Philippines for the sake of fast, orderly, honest, free, peaceful and credible elections?, said Gordon.

Twenty-two states in the US require voting machines to produce a Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) which can be reviewed and corrected by the voter to ensure the sanctity of the ballot. In fact, Mississippi, which is not even required to use the VVPAT, uses it in their 77 counties. On the other hand, the state of Maryland which did not use the VVPAT was not able to optimize the automated system.

The US is the greatest democracy in the world. Protecting the vote of their people is a pillar of this democracy, and they willingly entrust it to an automated election system. A few hours after the people in the US cast their ballots which they can verify through the VVPAT, the results are in, and this is my dream for the Philippines, said the Senator.

Senate Bill No. 2231, the Amendment to the Election Automation Law, was approved by the Senate on October 19, 2006, and is set to be reconciled with the House version in the Bicameral Conference, where additional security features on random audit of the system and recount may also be discussed. There were heated debates during the deliberation of the bill on the Senate floor as other senators heavily scrutinized the automation process and exceedingly took time in interpellating and introducing amendments to the bill.

Filipinos deserve to have their votes counted as they were cast. Im observing here in the US to gather irrefutable proof that automation is the way to make this happen, said Gordon.

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