Comelec transparency server ends unofficial count


MANILA, Philippines –  The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday, May 22, announced that it was ending its operations at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center, which housed the Comelec transparency and mirror servers.

The Comelec made the announcement in an exit meeting with election watchdogs, political parties, and the media covering the 2019 midterm polls.

The last precinct-level election result that the transparency server received came in at around 10 pm on Tuesday, May 21. It came from Washington DC, one of the overseas voting areas where transmission was delayed due to technical difficulties.

The total results successfully received by groups connected to the transparency server at closing time was at 98.42% of all expected precinct-level results – the highest percentage compared to previous automated elections.

The transparency server gets the third of 3 transmissions that vote-counting machines send at the close of the voting period on election day. This transmission is considered part of the unofficial tally. (READ: How does the PH automated election system work?

The official tally – which is the basis for proclamation of winners – is the one that is transmitted to the local board of canvassers where they are consolidated per area via certificates of canvass (COCs). For senatorial and party-list positions, COCs are then canvassed by the Comelec acting as the National Board of Canvassers. 

In 2016, the server received only 96.14% of precinct-level results. In 2010, around 92% of results were received, while in 2013, only around 76% of results were received.

Still, there were significant glitches in the transmissions this year.

On election day, May 13, there was a 7-hour delay between the first results file sent, and the second and third. (READ: After 7-hour glitch, Comelec transparency server sends results again)

On Tuesday, May 14, errors in the application that generates the results files for accredited groups caused fluctuations in total results shown in websites of news groups connected to the server. From 92.89%, the results dropped to 49.76%, then rose back up again at 93.45%. (READ: 'Java error' caused tally fluctuation – Comelec)

Comelec Director Teopisto Elnas Jr apologized for the election night glitch and assured accredited groups that there will be a third-party audit of the entire system.

Among those that will be included in the audit is the central server, transparency server, and the transmission router. The transmission router, also described in news reports as the so-called "meet-me-rooms," is where precinct-level results pass before they get to the server. 

Earlier, in an activity witnessed by representatives of accredited groups, the Comelec backed up the logs of the transparency server and turned over the initial copy to the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), the Comelec's accredited citizen arm.  

The PPCRV confirmed that:

As of 9:14 am on Wednesday, the Comelec central server had received 99.53% of local election returns or 85,366 out of 85,769. Meanwhile, it received 64.47% of overseas election returns, or 1,103 out of 1,711.

Vote counts from the transparency server are only partial, unofficial results. Official results are determined through COCs from provincial and city or municipal levels, which are canvassed at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City. –