Preparations for the first-ever nationwide automated elections have been ongoing for the past year and, hopefully, we will be on-track, despite several events that have contributed to delaying this mega-project. Hopefully, the calamities brought on by the recent typhoons serve as a warning to our electoral officials and other stakeholders not to take things for granted. The preparations should seriously take into consideration all factors including, of course, business continuity planning. Unfortunately, for many high ranking government officials, they simply consider automation similar to buying a TV set and just plugging it into an outlet. For the 2010 automated elections, we are using a technology called Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) which uses electronic technology to tabulate paper ballots.
We have approximately 47 million registered voters scattered in about 320,000 precincts. Each precinct has, at most, 200 voters. In order to maximize the benefit and cost of each PCOS machine, one will be assigned to each clustered precinct of at most five precincts. Obviously, some clusters will have less than five precincts since some remote areas may have less than 1,000 population. Thus, a single machine will be handling a maximum of 1,000 ballots. Comelec estimates the clustered precincts to number 80,136 hence the purchase of about 82,200 PCOS machines. Each clustered precinct will have a Board of Election Inspectors comprising three regular members and as many support staff as there are precincts in the cluster