August 7, 2022

Electoral software system now with Comelec

Comelec Commissioner Marlon Helmetjo. Virtual Media Conference Screenshot

THE electoral software system that will be used in next year’s national and local elections is now in the possession of the Electoral Commission (Comelec).

Commissioner Marlon Casquejo, Chairman of the Steering Committee, handed over the Election Management System (EMS) executable file to Comelec en banc on Wednesday before it was deposited in a vault at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as required by Republic Act (RA) 98369 or the “Automated Elections Act”.

Helmetjo handed over to Comelec en banc the source code and final trusted version that will run the entire Automated Election System (AES).

Helmetjo traveled to Huntsville, Alabama to personally witness the source code review conducted by Pro V&V last week, which was also broadcast live from the Comelec office in the presence of election stakeholders including representatives from political parties and election observers.

The EMS designs the configuration of the vote counting machines, such as the constituency number and the number of voters per constituency, among others.

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Helmetjo said review of the source code showed that the code met all the criteria.

He added that the trusted version will be shared with local source code reviewers, subject to Comelec policy, as provided in RA 9639.

The body of the survey defines trust building as “the process by which source code is converted into machine-readable binary instructions (executable code) for the computer. It is performed with adequate security measures implemented to give the assurance that executable code is a verifiable and faithful representation of source code.”

The source code, on the other hand, is the human-readable version of the software. This is custom voting software for the Philippines elections that will be installed in Vote Counting Machines (VCM).

The source code is basically an independent auditor to ensure that the system works without any malicious lines. It is provided by Smartmatic, the VCM supplier.