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COMELEC Memo No.

201419
Dated 18 August 2014

TO: Loyola Schools Student Body
FROM: Ateneo Commission on Elections
RE: Official statement on system glitch affecting 4 BS CTM and 3 BS MGT


Greetings!

Last 14 August 2014, the Commission released Memo 201417 to explain the glitch
experienced in counting the votes for each candidate running for course representatives of two courses
- 4 BS CTM and 3 BS MGT. The Commission acknowledges that many questions regarding the
elections arose after the release of Memo 201417. This memo is intended to further explain the glitch
encountered, the steps taken by Ateneo COMELEC, and to answer the speculations going around.
Should there still be any confusion, please feel free to send an email to
officialateneocomelec@gmail.com

Discovery and Nature of the Glitch

Prior to the discovery of the glitch, the Ateneo COMELEC has noticed some inconsistencies
in the voting tally for the course representatives of the two positions on 12 August 2014. The
commissioners saw that the tally for the Abstain votes does not match with the number of votes per
candidate. For example, candidates x and y are candidates for 3 BS MGT course representative. The
program says that candidate x got 5 votes while candidate y only got 1. Only 3 votes are listed for
Abstain. However, if candidate x got 5 votes, then at least 4 people should have abstained for
candidate y. At first, the commissioners thought that the inaccuracy was only in the counting of the
votes for Abstain. Upon discovery of this, the commissioners contacted the programmers to fix the
said problem.

On the same night, 12 August 2014, the Commission released the first partial tally. However,
the partial tally for 4 BS CTM and 3 BS MGT were not included because of the said inconsistency.
During this time, the Commission did not yet know the reason for the inconsistencies. The partial tally
was released with the following note:

Partial tally for 4 CTM and 3 MGT Course Representatives are not yet available
due to the complexity of counting the votes for positions with multiple seats. The
partial tally for the aforementioned courses will be released by tomorrow morning.

The Commission thought that the consolidator program would be available by the end of the
night. However, it was not until the next night, 13 August 2014, that the glitch was discovered. The
other parts of the statement, however, hold true. The partial tally for these specific positions was
really not available due to the complexity of counting votes for positions with multiple seats. It was
later discovered that the glitch caused this complexity. Hence, no part of the statement above can be
construed as a lie as it was what the commissioners knew the moment the partial tally was released.

On 13 August 2014 at around 9pm, the system glitch was discovered upon the inspection of
the votes by the programmer. The votes for each affected student showed only one vote for course


representative. The system glitch only affected the votes cast by 4 BS CTM and 3 BS MGT students
for their respective course representatives because students from these two courses could vote for
more than one (1) candidate as their course representatives. The system glitch, as explained in the
official statement of the Computer Society of Ateneo (CompSAt) attached in this statement, allowed
the system to record only the first vote cast by the voters for each position. As per the official
statement of CompSAt regarding the glitch:

The aforementioned batches are the only ones that require more than one
course representative. To be specific, everyone in 3 BS MGT and 4 BS CTM are
required to vote for six (6) and three (3) course representatives, respectively. Each
time a vote was cast, the bug caused the program to count only the votes for one
candidate, making votes for the other candidates irretrievable.

Because of the nature of the glitch as explained by CompSAt, votes for other positions were
not affected. Only those positions that had multiple seats were affected by the glitch, namely, the
course representative positions for 3 BS MGT and 4 BS CTM. Hence, it can be assured that votes for
other positions were accurately counted.

Steps taken by Ateneo COMELEC

Upon the initial discovery of the inaccuracy of the tally, the Ateneo COMELEC immediately
contacted the programmer to check the vote consolidation. However, as previously mentioned, the
glitch was only discovered on 13 August 2014.

While the Commission never intended to keep the glitch from the public, the Commission
saw that the glitch may cause misunderstanding, and thus, misinformed decisions against voting. An
incomplete understanding of the glitch may cause students to think that they will no longer vote
because their votes will not be counted. The Commission would like to prevent such rash decisions
based on misinterpretation. While it may be argued that an explanation may suffice to avoid
misinformation, the Commission did not, at that moment, have the time to explain thoroughly the
glitch as the statement from the programmers has also not yet been received. Then, this could cause
the disenfranchisement as mentioned in the petition for extension last elections. Aside from this, the
Commission saw that informing the affected students immediately may cause them to recast their
votes right away also, thus, taking the time given for others who have not yet voted. Hence, the
Commission chose to delay the release of the information regarding the glitch. The Commission saw
that the information regarding the glitch should, at that moment, remain classified as it may cause
negative effects such as the misinformation of the public and misunderstanding. However, the
Commission did not fail to be transparent as it has revealed the system glitch and has not, in the eve of
the discovery, manipulated any of the votes.

The Commission did not intend to deceive the public in any way. The commissioners
informed poll officers and core for the last day to use hard ballots for those voting under 4 BS CTM
and 3 BS MGT. The use of hard ballots instead of the glitched system clearly shows that the
Commission did not deceive people into opting in a glitched system.

For all the students who have voted using the glitched system, the Ateneo COMELEC would
like to sincerely apologize for the problem. To recover such votes, the Commission plans on taking
time from subjects of the affected students to get the students to recast their votes. To protect the


sanctity of the ballot, the Commission plans on giving away hard ballots to all students in the class
while explaining that only the votes of those who have voted during the Freshmen and Special
Elections are going to be counted. The Commission has already taken steps toward this by asking
permission from the program directors of the affected courses.

COMELECs stand on a Failure of Elections and Saving Sanggu

Another topic of speculation was the withholding of information was misconstrued as an
effort of the Commission to make sure that the quota is reached. The Commission would like to
debunk this idea, as, in the first place, it is not the goal of the Commission to reach quota. Last
semesters failure of elections may have brought a lot of criticisms upon the Ateneo COMELEC, but
it is not enough reason for the Commission to push for reaching the quota even if it means resulting
into undemocratic ways. Several statements by the Ateneo COMELEC, both internal and external,
would prove this.

One of the main documents that show the Commissions stand on the failure of elections is
the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the Commission last General Elections. (see
http://www.scribd.com/doc/208143838/Motion-for-Reconsideration) One of the main reasons why the
Commission did not want to extend the elections was because it saw that the time given was enough
for the students to vote and that extending would only be pushing for quota. The Commission, then,
saw it undemocratic to pursue an extension for the sole reason of reaching quota. Hence, from last
General Elections, the Commission saw that its main role was to facilitate the elections and hear the
voice of the students, and most certainly not to make sure that the quota is reached.

Also, in the various Poll Officers Training conducted by the Ateneo COMELEC, the topic of
the failure of elections was discussed. In these trainings, it was made sure that the poll officers know
that voting is a choice that students make. The poll officers were taught to encourage the students to
practice their right to vote. However, the poll officers were also reminded that the choice to not vote
should always be respected and no student shall be forced or coerced into voting. This was reiterated
in the Poll Officers Manual (see
issuu.com/ateneocomelec/docs/poll_officers__manual_9e81c0ee33ec00), which says that while we
want to reach quota and we will try to encourage the students to vote, please remember that voting is a
right of the students, and if they choose to not practice this despite our encouragements, then we
should respect this. This respect for the choice to practice or not practice the right to vote was
instilled to all the poll officers of the Ateneo COMELEC.

The Commission, especially the commissioners, had always thought that a failure of
elections is a failure of elections in such a way that the elections failed to put candidates into
position. However, this does not mean that the elections failed to capture the voice of the student
body. The Commission believes that not responding is still a form of response. The Commission
acknowledges that a failure of elections may still be representative of what the student body thinks.
Hence, the Commission maintains no bias for or against a failure of elections. While the Commission
would want to encourage people to actively participate in the formation of the Sanggunian, it will
never result in undemocratic ways - ways involving force, coercion, or deception - just to reach quota
since it also sees the value in a failure of elections.

Furthermore, the Commission does not see the nondisclosure of the information about the
glitch upon discovery as any method that pushes for quota. The nondisclosure was not aimed at


reaching quota because nondisclosure of information does not affect the students choice to vote
positively (i.e. non-disclosure of the glitch does not mean students would automatically want to vote).
Nondisclosure of the information was aimed at making sure that the mindset of the students and their
view of voting is not affected positively or negatively by the system glitch. If the student wanted to
vote, they would still want to vote and vice versa. The non-disclosure of information was done to
make sure that no misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the glitch will affect the students
decision to vote.

Again, for questions or clarifications, please feel free to contact us via e-mail at
officialateneocomelec@gmail.com.

Sincerely yours,



(Sgd.) Denise Anne G. Olondriz
Chief Commissioner
Commissioner for Communications



(Sgd.) Joyce Angeli V. Donaire
Commissioner for Human Resources


(Sgd.) James Arvin B. Ong
Commissioner for Logistics

(Sgd.) Justine Alyssa C. Guino
Commissioner for Secretariat


(Sgd.) Juan Miguel M. Razon
Commissioner for Finance

Room 303, MVP Center for Student Leadership, Ateneo de Manila University, Katipunan, Quezon City
http://www.compsat.org



THE COMMISSIONERS
ATENEO COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS (COMELEC)
through Juan Miguel M Razon


Dear Commissioners,

Yesterday, 13 August 2014, COMELEC contacted us regarding a problem in the election system that we
developed, specifically regarding the feature that counts votes for the course representative candidates of
3 BS MGT and 4 BS CTM. COMELEC stated that our system was not correctly counting the votes made
by the students of the mentioned years and courses. Upon investigating the situation, our developers
discovered a bug that caused the loss of votes for these two positions.

The aforementioned batches are the only ones that require more than one course representative. To be
specific, everyone in 3 BS MGT and 4 BS CTM are required to vote for six (6) and three (3) course
representatives, respectively. Each time a vote was cast, the bug caused the program to count only the
votes for one candidate, making votes for the other candidates irretrievable.

This bug could have been avoided if it had been caught earlier, specifically during the mock elections that
the COMELEC conducted on 04-08 August 2014. Unfortunately, not all of the possible test cases were
covered during this period. As a result, the bug was not detected and remained in the system until it was
encountered on 13 August 2014.

Upon discovering the bug, steps were taken to rectify the problem. Hence, as of the days end on
13 August, the voting system is functioning as intended.


Sincerely,




CHARLES JUSTIN LIM
Vice President for Research and Development
The Computer Society of the Ateneo