Saturday, May 19, 2007

Counting the numbers

Monitoring the Namfrel and Comelec counts of the May 14 elections results is a feat for reporters assigned to cover the tally, and for editors who have to manually encode the results into computer programs.

(Journalists work at the Comelec's Media Center at the PICC)

The Comelec distributes "soft copies" of the elections results (they even email it to media organizations) but these are two days late. It has to clear the commission's various stages of checking and counter-checking before it is released to the media. (I wonder why Comelec announces the result even before the soft copies pass the clearing stage.)

If one reads the result of the Comelec count in newspapers or news sites, one notices that the figures are already in the millions. But if one looks at the official results released by the poll body, the numbers are lower.

Namfrel releases only "hard copies" of its count.

Reporters at the PICC (Comelec) and Greenhills (Namfrel) have to generate their own Excel files and encode the figures announced by both Comelec and Namfrel to determine the ranking of the candidates.

Comelec releases only an alphabetical listing of the results. The poll body does not rank the list of candidates based on the number of votes.

It's a long way for elections in the country to be at par with other democracies. Longer than the counting of votes is the overhaul of the election process itself, voter education included.

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