As of 10:16 AM of May 15, Wednesday, the results in the partial and unofficial senatorial count in the COMELEC Transparency Server cover 97.75% or 83,842 of the local Election Returns (ER) from all over the country. This leaves 2.25% of 85,769 local ERs not yet included in the count. The delay in the transmission of ERs could be due to VCM malfunction, SD card issues, transmission issues, or other factors.
COMELEC municipal and provincial election officers should exert all efforts to transmit unreported ERs to reduce the 2.25% untransmitted ERs because the numbers are critical in the senatorial contest where the figures among those in Numbers 10 to 14 positions are very close. 2.25 % of 85,769 is equivalent to 1,930 untransmitted local ERs. Assuming a 75 % turnout of voters in the May 13 elections, this means 1,043,721 votes which should still be coming in. This number is large enough to reorder the positions in the senatorial race, and most importantly, define without doubt the No. 12 or the last slot placer. The margin of votes between the current 10th to the 14th placer now stands at 398,000 well within the 1,043,721 unaccounted votes.
The 1,043,221 still expected votes is derived through the following: divide the Total Number of Voters nationwide 61,843,750 by Total Number of Clustered Precincts 85,769 equals 721 average number of voters / clustered precinct. Assume a 75 % turnout rate in the election, one gets an average 541 votes per ER. If there are still 1,930 untransmitted ERs with 541 votes per ER, you get a total unreported 1,043,721 votes.
Untransmitted ERs are a perennial problem in the country’s Automated Election System (AES). In the past elections, the failed transmission rates were 9.5% of 76,528 election returns in 2010, 24% of 78,193 election returns in 2013, and 3.5% of 92,506 election returns in 2016. COMELEC has repeatedly stated that these missing ERs were eventually “aggregated” in the final count although the process of aggregation was not opened to the public. In this election however, not only should the 2.25% untransmitted rate be reduced to the lowest level possible, but COMELEC should also open the aggregation procedure to the political parties, election monitoring bodies and to the general public.
Photo by Aaron Favila/AP/Manila Bulletin