Source code firm Dominion sheds light on voting glitch

Posted at 05/07/10 7:32 PM

MANILA, Philippines - A Canada-based software firm who leased the source code for the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines for the May 10 Philippine polls has shed light on the glitch that caused the machines to incorrectly read the ballots.

Sean Dean, product manager of Dominion Voting Systems, said the company only found out about the voting machine glitch during the final testing and sealing of PCOS machines in several municipalities last Monday.

Dean said Dominion representatives received clearance from the Commission on Elections to investigate the program files, which allowed them to isolate the problem in the compact flash cards.

"We reacted immediately by getting permission from Comelec to go to the warehouse to start doing some debugging and testing. It only took about an hour before we figured out what the problem was," he told ABS-CBN News.

Poll machine supplier Smartmatic-TIM earlier said wrong configurations in the compact flash cards affected the automated count for the local positions. Smartmatic Southeast Asia president Cesar Flores said an adjustment in the ballot design for the local elections affected the machine count.

Dean said Dominion representatives were able to adjust the configurations in the compact flash cards, which are needed to count the votes for more than 2,200 local municipalities and districts in the May 10 polls. He said the new configurations were finished in the morning of Wednesday.

Dominion also handled 2009 NY congressional poll

MANILA, Philippines - A Canada-based software firm that leased the source code for the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines for the May 10 Philippine polls has been tapped for various electoral exercises in Canada and the United States, including the November 2009 special election for New York's 23rd congressional district. more...

In response to doubts on the integrity of the program and automation system, Dominion said it is staking its name that nobody interfered or had any access in the generation of the program files and configuration process.

"At no point was there any outside party involved in the configuration of the ballots and the election files. It was all done by ourselves and supervised only from a viewing perspective by the Comelec but other than that they didn't have access to the station. They didn't touch it. It was all strictly done by us," he said.

During the interview, Dean remained confident that 76,000-plus compact flash cards will be configured Friday, just 3 days before the election. He conceded, however, that the next challenge is delivering the flash cards to all municipalities in time for Monday's polls.

Dean denied previous articles accusing Dominion of questioning Smartmatic's contract with Comelec. He said the Dominion-Smartmatic partnership remains strong, as shown by the company's presence during the entire bidding process for the automation contract.

The Dominion official said fraud or manipulation of votes is impossible once the ballot enters the PCOS. He said once the PCOS reads the ballot, there is no way for the vote or count to be changed because of the 128-bit encryption, which is the same protective encryption used by banks.