Random manual audit shows vote counting machines ’99.99%’ accurate – poll officials

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 6) — The team that conducted a random manual audit on vote-counting machines (VCMs) used in the midterm polls said Thursday it recorded a near-perfect accuracy score.

It said the audit of 711 clustered precincts resulted in a score of of 99.9953 percent. Authorities originally targeted 715 sample precincts for the manual audit. However, four precincts from Quezon City, Lanao del Sur, Quezon province, and Cebu City were not audited due to issues with ballots.

The audit was supervised by officials from the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), its citizen arm Legal Network for Truthful Elections, the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Here are the initial results of the random manual audit, as presented by election officials on Thursday:

Senators: 99.9971 percent

House of Representatives: 99.9946 percent

Mayors: 99.9941 percent

Overall accuracy rate: 99.9953 percent

This is the highest recorded score since 2010, when the country shifted to automated elections. In 2010, the accuracy rate was at 99.5980 percent, while the 2013 and 2016 polls yielded scores of 99.9747 and 99.9027 percent, respectively.

COMELEC, however, said the manual audit does not measure poll result accuracy, as it is to verify the accuracy of VCMs.

“The audit has a national coverage, and the design is based on a national population,“COMELEC Commissioner Luie Guia said.

“It is not intended to determine the accuracy of the proclaimed results. It merely measures the accuracy of the VCM, 'yung general accuracy niya (its general accuracy),” he added.

The audit began on May 15. It was done by a group of public school teacher volunteers, who compared the VCM count with the manual count of votes.

COMELEC said the final report may be released in three weeks.

“This is an initial report because in three weeks' time, we would have finalized 'yung book report namin (our book report). After two weeks, we will meet and then come up with a common finding and common recommendation,” Guia added.

The May 13 polls were marred by technical glitches including defective machines, malfunctioning secure digital cards, and a delay in the release of votes. These prompted some groups to complain against election officials’ alleged “mishandling” of poll tasks.

President Rodrigo Duterte, in a speech in Japan on May 30, advised COMELEC to halt its partnership with technology provider Smartmatic over fraud allegations.

He has directed Department of Information and Communications Technology to search for a replacement for Smartmatic.

Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio, Jr. on Tuesday said the department will make the recommendations to the poll body as early as the end of June.