Electronic voting is the future of democracy. An ever-increasing number of countries around the world, including the Philippines, have seen their democratic institutions grow stronger and more resilient after abandoning flawed manual elections and empowering fast, accurate, and transparent results through automated election systems.
With all the clear advantages of automating elections however, some still want to return to the slow and fraud-ridden era of manual elections – a truly mind-boggling idea. The confusion around the preference of some for manual elections is demystified when one contemplates the many people who have made great fortunes from rigging elections. With the implementation of trusted and accurate automated election systems, the soiled rug of comprised elections has suddenly been pulled from under them.
In the Philippines, for example, for decades poll operators would make a living off of politicians employing the infamous “dagdag-bawas” (add-subtract) scheme, where the highest bidder could become the winner due to an addition of votes, while the hapless opponent becomes the loser as votes are shaved from his or her total.
However, once the Comelec automated the elections, these fraudsters were out of jobs overnight. The out-of-work cheaters were none too happy with their lack of employment and have chosen to attack what they see as the main deterrent to their unethical profession — the automated election system.
Encouragingly, many Filipino voters are protecting the right to have their votes fairly counted and are crying foul over the selfish agenda threatening to undo the gains brought about by election automation. After all, automation brought political stability to the country, a development which directly caused investor confidence to soar at all-time high, leading to a surge in foreign and local investments.
The stabilizing effects of automated elections in any country cannot be dismissed. It is up to concerned voters to be vigilant and to ensure that their democracy is not put at the mercy of self-interested swindlers and cheaters.