Smartmatic postpones testing and sealing of PCOS machines

May 4, 2010 8:08 pm 

MANILA, May 4 – Smartmatic-Asia president Cesar Flores said that the testing and sealing of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines has been suspended after discovering wrong configuration in the machines.

With this, he said they are replacing all the 76,000 flash cards of the PCOS and replaced it with corrected configuration which is in the cards.

“The procedure is to replace the compact flash with corrected configuration. This will force us to stop sealing for the next couple of days while we reset memory cards,” he explained.

Flores said they will resume the testing and sealing on Thursday as they are set to complete the replacement Wednesday.

He assured the public that the present “glitches” in the automated election project can easily be corrected.

“It is a logistical challenge. Technically, it’s an easy correction,” Flores explained.

He noted that the flash card gives the machine specific precinct info which is external. It tells PCOS the precinct, candidates. It is a confidential file and it translates PCOS when it is supposed to read ballots.

“We will ship new memory cards new places. It is a tight schedule but it can be done and it will be done,” Flores added.

The memory card is a regular compact flash with 4 GB capacity.

Asked on why the wrong configuration in the machines was not detected earlier, Smartmatic official said, “Basically, the way to detect… remember every ballot is tested for machine readiness at the National Printing Office (NPO) which means we checked integrity of marks and alignment of ballots. But ballots not shaded therefore you cannot test shading through PCOS.. In future that can be corrected. That reality we found out yesterday. It is minimal instructions that confuses the machine on configuration. It is being resolved. It will be resolved with new compact flash cards.”

It would be recalled that several machines in some areas failed to read the votes for the national positions when the machines undergone the testing and sealing.

Flores explained, “The local unlike national they have double space. You look at national single space. If you mark the first row, it will be read correctly. But for some reason the configuration is telling the machine the second row is actually third row. It will read this candidate as blank space.”

On the other hand, Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said that all the PCOS machines that are still in the hubs will remain there for the speedy replacement of flash cards.

“All PCOS machines at the hubs have been ordered to remain at the hubs for speedier replacement of flash cards,” he said.

For his part, despite the present events, Commissioner Rene Sarmiento is optimistic that there will be no failure of elections, however, he said that they are always prepared in any eventuality.

“We are optimistic that there will be no failure of election. We have discussed this. In the event that afterwards it will happen, 30 percent will serve as backup for manual purposes. So with this development that is being addressed, we are on top of the situation. We are confident that failure of election will not happen,” the Comelec official said. (PNA)

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