Philippine fears over machine poll

Many question reliability of scanning machines to be used to speed up counting of votes.

    Saturday marks the last day of campaigning for Philippines' general elections, which will be a huge test for the country's first ever automated polling system.

    Preparations for the use of the 82,000 scanning machines, which are expected to speed up the count of some 50 million voters and help avoid human error or rigging, have been going on for months.

    But in recent tests on them, sample votes were miscounted and more than 90 per cent of the memory cards, which give instructions to the machines for reading ballots, had to be replaced.

    Al Jazeera's Marga Ortigas, reporting from Manila, the Philippines' capital, said there are widespread fears that the system could lead to a failure of Monday's elections.

    Joel Rocamora, a research associate for the Institute for Popular Democracy, says it would not be unfair to say that "this election suffers from serious mistrust problems".

    But he sees hope for change in Noynoy Aquino, the new popular candidate for president, who has a 22-point lead in opinion polls.

    "Everyone is convinced that senator Aquino will become the new president and that sets the base for dealing with the problems," Rocamora told Al Jazeera.

    "It is very clear that an Aquino presidency will deal with corruption problems. It is part of the nature of his family legacy and has a lot to do with his campaign, which is the first campaign with a really massive volunteer engagement."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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