Thursday, May 13, 2010

Electronic elections? That wasn't so painful now, was it?

All that hullabaloo about failure of elections and now, in just a couple of days, the Comelec is almost done counting the votes. And wrapping it up in a neat bow. The fears about the country's first electronic elections turned out to be for, well, mostly nothing. Even Conrado de Quiros, who was critical of the scheme, ate some humble pie and congratulated the Comelec on a job well done. So all's well that ends well. Ain't technology grand?

This is the first and last thing I'll say about the 2010 elections. I, for one, have always been for computerized elections. I pay my bills online. I buy stuff online. And compared to spending actual money via computers, what's a few votes? I come from a family of IT professionals, so when I first heard about the computerized voting, I wasn't worried one bit. Computers are just machines -- tools we use to make life easier -- and if there is, was or will be any cheating it will be because of one thing: people.

Yes, you got that right. People can rig the system, or they can screw up the checks and balances that the electoral system is supposed to have. But computers? Don't give them too much credit. They're just giant calculators. Connected to telephones.

When the nation went into an uproar about faulty machines and failure of elections, I was aghast. I've always thought that Filipinos were a fairly forward-thinking bunch, happily embracing technology when they could afford it. (Jessica Soho's iPad and holograms on ABS-CBN and GMA are proof.) But in the mad days before the elections when everyone thought we were headed towards "Elections: Fail" my beliefs were sorely challenged. We looked like a bunch of primitives afraid of fire. I knew hardly anyone who thought that computerized elections could work well, or even just work. (I'll throw myself in with that lot: I thought it would work, but work slowly.)

To a tech enthusiast like me, it was ugly. Filipinos were transformed into a pack of snarling beasts, unable to trust each other or work toward a common goal. We were scared of the unknown and we lashed out at what we didn't understand, instead of studying the problem, formulating a plan, and using the best of our Pinoy ingenuity to find a solution.

If the next six years turn out to be a disaster it won't be because of Noynoy, simple as he may be. It will be because of our own stupidity, distrust and lack of vision. I'm done blaming the politicians. I'm placing my hopes in people who just get the job done. God job, Comelec.

1 comment:

Jennie said...

I totally agree with you, Vince. Although, there is no denying the fact that that was the most traumatic voting experience I ever had.(I almost fainted!) Birth pains, that at the end of the day, I'm glad I participate in. :)

Good job, indeed! We no longer belong to the dark ages! :)