Baby, it ain’t over ’til the election’s over.

While waiting for a 17B bound jeepney here in Asiatown IT Park, I received an unusual SMS from my mom. An innocent SMS that had me smiling despite the abrupt stop-and-go ride, asking if I knew how to reconfigure the PCOS compact flash cards that caused failure in the mock election last Monday. I was smiling for several reasons.

Talk about Murphy’s Law in action. The Comelec and Smartmatic overlooked a simple detail that caused the PCOS malfunction during the mock election last Monday. In the news, they opted to use technical jargon rather than using lay terms to explain what went wrong. A fair analogy that I can think of would be an optometrist that gives the same eye glass prescription to all its patients because he forgot to adjust his phoropter. Call it overconfidence or just plain old laziness. Even the king of excuses would have a hard time making one for Comelec and Smartmatic.

Otherwise, if the Comelec and Smartmatic had the slightest inkling that this would happen and made no attempt to reprogram the PCOS compact flash cards before the election, it would be a different story. A story that if we Filipinos would only care to understand, it’s implications on the integrity of the results our forthcoming elections, could cause the much feared failure of elections.

When embarking on anything new, whether it be in technology or (any)logy, the best practice is to cover all worst case scenarios and never assume 100% error free results. There is, and there will always be, something bound to go astray. Coz’ baby, it ain’t over, until it’s over.

I would have to rename this blog to above-averagejom if my mom believes that I can reconfigure the PCOS compact flash by myself. Although it is merely a process of reprogramming the compact flash to adjust to the standard ballot, I have shunned software engineering and concentrated on network engineering.   The previous test on sample ballots were deemed successful because coded instructions on the compact flash cards are fitted to read sample ballots not the real ballots to be used on the actual Election Day. That explains the missing votes on certain candidates, some parts of the real ballots are not being successfully read by the coded instruction on the compact flash cards.

Everyone likes to point fingers at each other when something goes wrong. In this case, fingers should be pointed to the party that refused to test the PCOS on actual ballots prior to D-day. There is no valid reason not to test the automated counting machine on ballots they were specifically built to count.


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