1. What is Halalang Marangal?

Halalang Marangal (Network of Citizens for Honest Elections And Truthful Statistics) is an organization that wants to help keep elections and referendums honest by conducting truthful, transparent tallies.

2. How will it help keep tallies honest and transparent?

By asking watchers in every voting precinct to collect election results right after the counting in voting places ends, and storing these results in a database, where they will remain disaggregated by precinct. So, anyone can request from the database, by text/SMS or thru the Internet, any precinct result as well as municipal, provincial or national summaries.

3. Who will collect the precinct results? Volunteer watchers will do so, by sending data from the field through text/SMS messages, with their cellphone number serving as their ID. The reports will also be counter-checked against the actual official electoral precinct documents: the election returns (ERs) or certificate of votes (COVs).

4. Who can request data from the Halalang Marangal database?

Anyone with a cellphone (almost 40 million Filipinos now have them) or an Internet connection can request data anytime from the HALAL database, which can be queried thru text messaging, email or the Web. Anyone can also get the entire database from the Internet. or in CDs.

5. How does one request precinct results from the database? Send a short text message (pcint? ) to a special cellphone number.

6. Why is it useful to get the results from one’s precinct? Voters can now ensure that the true results at their precinct are actually canvassed correctly at the national level, as follows:
a) at the precinct level, personally observe the count and jot down the results; and b) at the national level, confirm that these results are identical to those recorded in the national database of precinct returns. It will only take a few text messages (pcint , pcint p.2, etc.) to get the results. To add to the report’s weight, you can also confirm it with another message (phone true/tru/ok).

If ordinary voters can ensure the integrity of every precinct return in the national database, they are also collectively ensuring the integrity of the municipal, provincial and national totals. In contrast, in the official or NAMFREL tallies, teachers, watchers and the public have no way at all to check/ensure that their precinct results have actually been correctly canvassed at the national level.

7. Can anybody text a precinct report? Yes, anybody can text a report. When you text for a precinct result ( pcint ), you will receive several text messages in a specific report format. You must text all of them back, but before you do, edit the votes where your data differs with the current report. You may omit candidates with zero votes. But every single vote must be reported.

However, reports sent in by our trained volunteers have more weight than those sent in by the public. If you really want to help by sending election reports, it is better to do so as a volunteer.

8. What about people who send in a false report?

We expect that cheats will try to pollute the database and undermine the credibility of the network by sending in false reports or even volunteering under false pretenses However, these cheats will have to contend with the following:

– Reports from our volunteers will carry more weight than reports from the public.

– Once a cellphone number is used to send or confirm a precinct report, it cannot be used to send/confirm reports in other precincts. Thus cheats can use their cellphone number for one precinct only, limiting the damage they can cause.

– The cellphone number of the sender will also be posted on the database, together with the report, so cheats are risking that their number will be recognized by acquaintances.

– A report’s weight varies as the number of people confirming the report. We believe that there are many more honest Filipinos than cheats, so truthful reports will get more confirmations.

– Reports will be verified against the actual precinct documents, so even where several cheats conspire to send and confirm a false report, they will eventually be found out.

This should discourage all but the most brazen election cheats, who can still be found out.

9. I am already part of another election watch organization. Can I still join? Yes, just register your phone with us (text: REG), join the trial runs, get the precinct results on election day, and text them to our database. However, it is best if you encourage your organization to become a HALAL partner. As partner, your organization will have full access to the HALAL system, will get full training support from us, and will be part of HALAL decision-making.

Join us, and help determine the true results in the next elections. To volunteer, please get in touch with a HALAL member who knows you personally and can vouch for you. For more details, please check www.geocities.com/no.cheats.

If you want us to make a presentation in your organization, please contact: Roberto Verzola, rverzola@gn.apc.org, 0921-250-5520. Network of Citizens for Honest Elections and Truthful Statistics

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