Smartmatic says it’s 100 percent ready for Election Day. Ready to what, rig the results? Election automation experts cannot but be suspicious. The Venezuelan voting-machine seller has pulled off too many shady deals with the Comelec. It is tainting the credibility of Election 2016. The backdrops for the balloting on Monday are worrisome, to say the least. The Comelec official website has just been hacked. Sensitive personal data of 55 million voters, which the Comelec negligently included, have been dumped on the Internet. Cybercriminals likely have copied the fingerprints, photographs and signatures. Voters will fall prey to blackmail, extortion and cyber-fraud. Smartmatic is striving to dissociate itself from the Comelec fiasco. It claims that its automated election system is hack-proof. Experts have never disputed that. What they’ve been saying all this time is that Smartmatic’s machines are prone to internal manipulation.
That Comelec/Smartmatic will fudge the vote count looms. They are conspiring to issue false voter receipts. Those receipts will not contain vital info such as voting machine serial number; date and time; precinct number and location; province, city, municipality or congressional district. It will thus negate the objective of the receipt.
Officially called VVPAT, for Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail, the receipt has a dual role. First is for the voter to check if the machine read his ballot right. Second is for all voters to verify that the machines tallied and transmitted the votes correctly. Without the vital info, it will not serve as paper audit trail.
Further making the balloting doubtful are two latest deals of Comelec and Smartmatic. One is the supply of thermal paper for the VVPAT and the precinct tallies that the voting machines will churn out. Smartmatic suddenly opted to donate the paper stock after losing the bidding. A competitor had offered only half Smartmatic’s bid, but for some eerie reason, the latter is bent on using its own paper; hence the “donation,” which it later will use for tax deduction.