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Problem of the CF Cards

Problem of the CF Cards

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Published by BlogWatch.ph
Source: Center for People's Empowerment in Governance

This is a technical analysis of what seemed to be the problem with the CF cards, according to Pablo Manalastas, Ph.D. (CenPEG IT Analyst)
Source: Center for People's Empowerment in Governance

This is a technical analysis of what seemed to be the problem with the CF cards, according to Pablo Manalastas, Ph.D. (CenPEG IT Analyst)

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Published by: BlogWatch.ph on May 17, 2010
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06/15/2010

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Problem of the CF Cards (May 17 10)By Pablo Manalastas, Ph. D.CenPEG IT Analyst
In the news article entitled,
"Comelec to Erap: Prove allegations" 
, in the May 16, 2010issue of Philippine Star, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez is quoted as saying,
"Compact flash cards have nothing to do with the count, all it does is say that 'you machine, you are for this precinct'. Basically, what a compact flash card does is tocustomize a machine so that it is specific to a particular locality and that's all that it does. It has nothing to do with the counting logic." 
That the CF card has nothing to do with the counting logic is the
BIGGEST LIE
ever tocome from Comelec. The CF card contains data that are the very heart and soul of thecounting logic, such that use of the wrong CF card produces wrong counts, and puts toquestion the entire result of the May 10, 2010 automated election.
Precinct-Specific Ballots and CF Card
All the 76,000+ PCOS machines are running the same computer program that readsballots, credits the votes to the correct candidates, computes a summary at the end of the voting period, and transmits the election return to the municipal board of canvassersand to the national Comelec servers. An unconfigured generic PCOS machine can beused in any of the 76,000+ precincts. What enables the PCOS machine to count votesfor candidates of a specific municipality/district is the candidates' data in the CF cardthat is used to configure the PCOS machine. The CF card tells the PCOS machine whatthe names of the candidates are and the positions of their ovals on the ballot.Take the example of the candidates for president, as shown in this sample ballot.Let us assume a scan resolution of 100 pixels per inch, so that a ballot with dimensions8.5 inches x 25 inches will be scanned and saved as a tiff file of 850 pixels x 2500pixels. Let us take as origin the upper-left corner of the black rectangle on the upper-left
 
corner of the ballot as horizontal-x pixel position and vertical-y pixel position (0,0). Thenthe center of the oval for candidate Acosta is at position (70, 260), and the center of theoval for candidate Aquino is at position (70, 290). Candidates Acosta and Aquino are inthe same column and so have the same horizontal-x position at pixel 70. Also, thecenter of the oval for candidate Estrada is at position (245, 260). Now candidatesAcosta and Estrada are in the same row and so have the same vertical-y position atpixel 260. Thus the ballot design tells us which candidate has his oval on which (x,y)-position on the ballot. All these data on names and (x,y)-positions on the ballot for eachcandidate are stored in the CF card for the precinct. The CF card is a memory card thatlooks like the picture below. It is similar in use to SD cards, MMC cards, and USBpendrives, in that it is used to store files containing data. In the case of a CF card for aPCOS machine, the CF card contains data on candidates names and their (x,y)-positions on the ballot to be used in that precinct.It is important that the ballots to be used for a specific precinct and the CF card to beused to configure the PCOS machine for that precinct be exactly matched in terms of the names of candidates and their positions on the ballots. A vote for candidate Acostaat position (70, 260) on the ballot will be interpreted correctly or incorrectly by the PCOSmachine depending on the correctness of the data on the CF card. We can see threepossibilities.(1) If the CF card data has Acosta in position (70, 260), then the vote on the ballot willbe correctly credited to Acosta.(2) If the CF card data has Acosta in position slightly different from (70, 260), say the CFcard has (75, 260) as the position of Acosta's oval, then the vote on the ballot for Acostamay or may not be credited to him, depending on whether the shading centered at (70,260) constitutes a 50% or greater shading of the oval centered at (75, 260).(3) If on the CF card, Aquino's oval is indicated as the one centered at position (70,260),then the vote for Acosta will be credited as a vote for Aquino.

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