Automation: A Question of Trust19.04.10
Aired on April 19, 2010
Narration by Baben Lumapas
AUTOMATION: A Question of Trust
We are preparing for the first fully automated election in our history. It is a welcome development to expedite the count and decrease the risk of cheating. The test runs of this new system have been generally successful. Voter training for this new set-up has also gone well.However, the media has been quick to highlight possible glitches. For example, we hear talk of many ballots rejected during the test run in one precinct in Quezon City . We hear of electronic jammers that could disrupt the process of transmitting results. Even certain leaders, both religious and secular, have expressed concern about conspiracies, fraud, and failure of elections.
Lack of trust is what really lies behind this fear of the new system. It is not that people do not trust its technical efficiencies of it. The company that COMELEC is working with proved its capability in hotly contested elections in Venezuela in 2004. International observers have praised those polls for being free and fair. The COMELEC is making every effort to ensure that all contingencies could be met.
So, why don’t we trust the process, even though we have this new opportunity of ensuring that the elections are free and fair? Yes, there will probably be those who will try to foul up the system. This concern is valid, but not enough reason to mistrust the entire automation effort.
There are always risks in trying new things. But it is better to try than to remain paralyzed by our fears of the unknown.
This brings to mind the story of the eight spies of Israel who exaggerated their reports on the land God had promised. They highlighted the difficulties, as if these were insurmountable. They frightened the people of Israel into doubting God’s promises. The people refused to go and possess the land, and consequently wandered in the desert for forty years.
We should therefore be wary of negative reports that these polls will fail. Indeed, while there may be cause for concern over the preparations, we should NOT say that this means failure.
Instead, we should familiarize ourselves with the process and help our people overcome the difficulties. We could help the COMELEC educate people about how the system works.
Different communities and organizations can get together to show people, in a non-partisan fashion, how to mark the ballots. They can also organize poll watchers to observe the process on Election Day and see that all is done decently and in order.
Finally, and most of all, we must trust in God and ask him to overshadow the process. It is a testament to God’s providence that we have survived as a nation over the last hundred years. Like Abraham, who trusted in God and ventured into the unknown, we must be willing to venture into automation, full of hope that God will be with us.