A feature of the automation law is the so-called “random manual audit.” In concept, it is designed to be a check on the accuracy of the count made by automation.
The Comelec has yet to issue the implementing rules on random manual audits. In the meantime, a description of how it’s done in one locality in California is instructive.
An important rule adopted in San Mateo County is that the size of the sample of the random manual audit increases as the winning margin in an election gets narrower. Philippine law is similar in the sense that if a discrepancy is revealed in the random manual audit, this could trigger a wider manual recount.
The Philippine automation law on random manual audit includes the following provision in RA 9369, Sec. 24.
… there shall be a random manual audit in one precinct per congressional district randomly chosen by the Commission in each province and city. Any difference between the automated and manual count will result in the determination of root cause and initiate a manual count for those precincts affected by the computer or procedural error.”
The random manual audit is one of the many safeguards included in the law to ensure the sanctity of the ballot.
It may be useful to revisit this matter after the experience of the 2010 elections. But see my earlier post on a transparent but automated audit.