Comelec compiles second software build for 2 components of May 9 polls

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 13) — The Commission on Elections has prepared new software versions for two components of the automated elections in May 9 to correct some issues encountered during the mock polls held on December 29.

The poll body made a second trusted build for its programs for the vote counting machines (VCMs) as well as the consolidated canvassing system (CCS) on Thursday. This came a month since the first version of the programs were composed, and in the middle of an alleged hacking of Comelec's servers which poll officials have repeatedly denied.

“As we have said earlier before, when we conducted our trusted build in Huntsville, Alabama, if there is a need to do the trusted build because of some issues which involve source code, then we need to do another trusted build,” Commissioner Marlon Casquejo, head of the 2022 elections steering committee, said in the livestreamed event at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.

“We have found some improvements that need to be corrected when we conducted our field test as well as our mock elections conducted last December,” he added.

READ: 2022 mock polls generally smooth but ballot paper jams, voter crowding flagged

Casquejo flew to the United States last month to witness the first trusted build for three components of the automated elections, which was led by Comelec’s contractor Pro V&V. These were the programs that will run the VCMs, the system for the centralized canvassing of votes, and the elections management system (EMS). Codes for the transmission router service were also left untouched.

No changes were made to the EMS software but the programs for the VCMs and canvassing were revised after learning about some issues during field tests.

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During last month’s mock elections, officials on site noted a discrepancy in the transmission of data in Pasay City after the initial tally mistakenly reported a 100% voter turnout in the two covered precincts. However, there were no issues regarding the actual number of ballots counted.

The rebuilding process lasted over four hours and was held in Manila, with Pro V&V officials visiting the country instead.

The source codes were stored in flash drives to be kept in one of the vaults of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, while copies of the software will soon be loaded on voting machines by Comelec’s Information Technology Department.

Both sealed envelopes were temporarily stored on Thursday afternoon inside a vault at the Comelec headquarters in Intramuros.