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MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte (PIA)  --  The mid-term polls next year will still be using similar technology first introduced and successfully used during the 2010 presidential elections, an official of the provincial office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) here announced. 

Provincial Election Supervisor Atty. Antonio Gulay, Jr., however, said as to the details on the overall preparations and conduct of the 2013 local and senatorial elections, his office is still awaiting the various resolutions to be promulgated by the poll body’s central office. 

The number of voters in a precinct is also not yet certain, for during the 2010 polls concerns were raised that the 1,000 voters assigned in one precinct, even though the process was automated, created long lines of impatient, often angry, crowd. 

There were talks to reduce the number to about 500 voters per precinct, but this was not official yet, Gulay said during the Action Center Kapihan sa Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Wednesday. 

Gulay said he can vouch on the accuracy of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines that were used in 2010 and in all likelihood will still be used for 2013, saying that in a random, manual count before in the testing process, and after for the ballot audit, the results practically matched. 

What created a problem in 2010 was the defective compact flash cards installed in every PCOS, in which 18 PCOS machines in at least eight towns and Maasin City caused the delay in the otherwise fast transmission of results especially at the national level. 

The problem was solved when new, replacement CF cards arrived several days after the elections, and Gulay said this incident was unforeseen in the tedious preparations usually attending the dawning of a revolutionary shift from traditional balloting such as election automation, where all eyes were focused on the PCOS machine and not so much on the accompanying gadget. 

Gulay expressed hope that with the 2010 experience and lessons learned, the scenario on bugged down CF cards will not be repeated in the 2013 elections. 

He also allayed fears of ballots switching, saying that just like what happened in 2010, official ballots are PCOS-specific, meaning ballots will not pass through a PCOS machine that is not configured for them, a security feature that is unique to the technology.   (mmp/PIA8-Southern Leyte)