Comelec to Open “Source Code” of Voting Software Program to Public in 2025 Polls

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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) to Make Voting Software Source Code Public

In a significant move towards transparency, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the Philippines has announced that, for the first time in the country’s election history, they will make the “source code” of the voting software program available to the public. The source code is the human-readable version of the software that runs the automatic counting machines (ACMs) used in elections.

Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia revealed that Miru Systems of South Korea, the joint venture responsible for the software, has agreed to allow the public to review the source code. This decision reflects their confidence in the program’s capability and their willingness to subject it to public scrutiny.

Understanding the Importance of the Source Code

The source code serves as an independent auditor, ensuring that the voting system is free from any potentially malicious lines of code. It is a customized version of the election management system (EMS) specifically designed for Philippine elections and is installed in the ACMs.

The EMS is responsible for configuring the ACMs, including assigning precinct numbers and determining the number of voters per precinct. Miru Systems will provide the source code to Comelec after an international certification agency reviews the software system to ensure its integrity.

Enhancing Transparency in the Election Process

The decision to make the source code available to the public adds an extra layer of transparency to the entire election process. By allowing anyone to review and test the source code, Comelec aims to instill confidence in the integrity of the voting system.

Garcia also shared that Miru Systems has offered to install cameras in every polling place to monitor the voting process. This commitment to full transparency extends to all stages of election preparation, including the customization of the 110,000 ACMs that will be used in the upcoming national and local elections.

The customization process is expected to take six months, followed by two months of international certification and one month of source code review. Comelec has awarded Miru Systems an P18 billion contract for the lease of the 110 counting machines, as well as other peripheral services required for the 2025 elections.

The contract includes the provision of 104,345 ballot boxes, 2,200 server/laptop and printer units, pens and ballot printing, as well as ballot paper for approximately 73,881,894 voters. Additionally, Comelec is setting up 82 provincial repair hubs, one in each province, to facilitate timely repairs and maintenance.

Garcia emphasized the importance of these repair hubs, noting that in the previous 2022 polls, Comelec only had one hub in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. By decentralizing the repair process, they can address any issues without the need to transport the machines to Manila.

The decision to make the source code public and the commitment to transparency in all aspects of the election process demonstrate Comelec’s dedication to ensuring a fair and trustworthy electoral system. By allowing public scrutiny and implementing measures to monitor the voting process, they aim to inspire confidence and uphold the integrity of the democratic process in the Philippines.

Source: The Manila Times

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