Tuesday, February 2, 2010

21st Century Electioneering

The implementation of the automated elections on May 2010 has prompted the rise of a new breed of electioneers in the Philippine scene. A new bloodline now follows the path where there were once dagdag-bawas agents, vote-buyers and other lowlife species who manipulate the ballot for the benefit of their political candidate.

As the election process itself becomes more efficient, the behind-the-scenes machinations become more and more complicated and more technical. At the dawn of the Information Age, the electioneers level-up just as well and employ more technical methods in their efforts.

The Poll Jammers

The automated polls may utilize radio signals to transmit poll results. Many groups will take advantage of this fact. There are now reports that some 5,000 signal jammers have been smuggled into the country. These jammers can disrupt the transmission of signals from the automated machines to the supposed receivers. One immediate effect is the delay and confusion that will be created by such disruption. Some speculate that this "may be part of a bigger play to manipulate the results of the May 10 elections."

The Source Code Filibusters

The Comelec will be opening up the source code of the election machines to various interested groups for review. This is to make sure that the software does not run in a way that is biased to one candidate or another. As early as now, there have been many concerns from different institutions; some saying the software should be inspected by a third-party organization, some doubting the credibility of the reviewing group etc. In this matter, an interest group can employ a software specialist to question the correctness of the source code itself. Hence, if a candidate loses, she will not say anymore that she was cheated. Backed-up by experts, she can instead say that the source code is flawed.

These are just some of the changes that the upgrade of the system can bring about. One can even speculate farther on the other consequences: emergence of Source Code Debaters or establishment of Anti-jammer Corps. Things could just become more and more complicated.

News Sources:
Jammers may be part of bigger plot to foil polls
Election source code is open to public


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