MANILA, Philippines - A Canada-based software firm that leased the source code for the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines for the May 10 Philippine polls has been tapped for various electoral exercises in Canada and the United States, including the November 2009 special election for New York's 23rd congressional district.
Dominion Voting Systems, a full-service provider of elections solutions based in Toronto, provided portable ImageCast voting machines during the 2009 New York congressional election after signing an agreement with the Colorado-based company Sequoia Voting Systems.
A pre-election test conducted by the New York State Board of Elections on the ImageCast machines later showed software problems in the machines, particularly for races that allow voters to vote for more than one candidate. It noted that the Dominion ImageCast machines "did not allow for enough memory in these contests and caused the scanners to freeze during operation."
(Click here to read the NY State functional test report)
A statement from the New York State Board of Elections said counties experiencing the problem were notified prior to Election Day and the voting systems were corrected and re-tested, and the corrective action was applied successfully in those areas. It added, however, that the human review of the software glitch did not adequately identify every machine that had the problem "which resulted in several scanners freezing up during Election Day."
"When these scanners froze, the local boards implemented procedures according to state law and Board of Elections regulations. These procedures do not allow for new changes on Election Day, so inoperative scanners were taken out of operation and emergency ballots were cast and counted in those areas according to existing procedures," the board said. (Click here to read statement)
Despite the hitches, the congressional election pushed through without incident and eventually saw the historic win of Democratic nominee William Lewis Owens.
Last January, Dominion Voting Systems lost a $50 million contract to provide electronic voting machines to New York City. The contract went to rival automation supplier, Election Systems & Software, Inc., which, ironically, was one of the failed bidders in the Philippine election automation project.
The P7.2 billion was awarded to Smartmatic-TIM consortium.
Wrong configurations in the compact flash cards used in Smartmatic's PCOS machines have been blamed for erroneous tallies during Monday's pre-election testing and sealing of the machines. Smartmatic Southeast Asia president Cesar Flores earlier said the reprogramming of all 76,000 PCOS flash cards will be finished by Friday morning, 3 days ahead of the national election.