Comelec: Random manual audit halfway done, shows accurate poll results

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(File photo) Board of Election Inspectors attend to a vote-counting machine technical glitch during May 9 polls.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is carrying out the random manual audit of votes to validate the automated election results.

With the audit halfway done, the poll body said the results are 99.74 percent accurate.

Poll watchdog National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) and the Philippine Statistics Authority are assisting the Comelec in the random manual audit.

Namfrel noted what it quantified as a 0.25 % disparity between the manual and electronic counts, mainly because of interpretations of auditors on ambiguous ballot marks.

The vote counting machines recognized ovals that were shaded at least 25-percent. The machines did not read marks smaller than that.

Auditors also noted a number of ballots that had wrong marks.

The Comelec recalled for further scrutiny ballots from precincts that reported more than 10 cases of disparity.

“To the extent na yung vote counting machine, based on our verification so far is, nakita namin na parang ok naman yung count niya, no? But of course, as was explained earlier, there were votes or shadings which we wanted to verify as to how these were appreciated by the machine,” Namfrel executive board member Tammy Lipana said.

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Comelec Commissioner Luie Guia is supervising the random manual audit. He said the process makes sure votes were properly counted under the automated system.

Guia said the report will be transparent.

“The committee will see and will make a report as they see. Hindi namin ito, wala tayong minamasahe dito… I mean, we see the report, we will report them as we see them,” the commissioner said

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The Comelec is conducting a manual audit of results from nearly 700 clustered precincts nationwide. In 2010 presidential elections, however, there were 1,145 randomly-chosen precincts for manual audit nationwide, according to a report by Smartmatic.

The poll body randomly selects precincts from each legislative district in proportion to the voter population of that area.

For the last elections, the Comelec recalled results from 418 precincts to double-check disparities with the electronic count.

CNN Philippines’ JC Gotinga contributed to this report.