Press Release
March 11, 2009

Poll automation law has enough safeguards vs cheating - Gordon

Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today assured that the election automation law he has authored has enough measures to prevent hacking of the computer system that would be used to automate the May 2010 presidential elections.

Gordon, author of Republic Act (RA) 9369 or the amended Automated Elections System Law, made the assurance to dispel skepticisms by some quarters that no machine could be fool-proof to cheating and manipulation.

"Some unscrupulous individuals may try to hack into the computer system that will be employed in the poll automation. However, the law has sufficient safeguards to ensure that they will not succeed," he said.

"We are trying to put a stop to the wholesale cheating that has marred our elections in the past," he added.

RA 9369 called for the pilot testing of automated elections system prior to its full implementation in a national election - the next being the 2010 elections after it was pilot-tested in the Aug. 2008 elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Christian Monsod earlier advised the Comelec to be careful in pursuing an automated election since there is no system that is foolproof.

Monsod warned that going to full automation immediately would make the process easier to rig since the system is centralized.

To snuff out fears that the automation system would merely bring in "automated cheating," Gordon said the law he authored, though technology-neutral, has provisions that require security features against unauthorized access to the system.

"The law also mandates and requires a system integrity which would ensure physical stability and efficiency of the vote recording and counting process," he said.

Gordon also pointed out that there would be no time for the "cheating scholars" to study the system and find a way to hack it since the law requires for a system that would consolidate report and display election results in the shortest time possible.

He also pointed out that though the voting may be electronic, it would still not be possible to access the system and change votes because the law also mandates for a voter verified paper audit trail.

"The law calls for an auditable system that would provide supporting documentation for verifying the correctness of reported election results, so there is no need to fear that the 'cheating scholars' would gain access and manipulate the data in the system," the senator said.

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