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Manila, Philippines, August 13, 2008.- In the wake of the first automated election in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Smartmatic-SAHI today announced that its voting solution, the Smartmatic Automated Election System (SAES), performed with complete reliability and accuracy. During the election, the SAES machines transmitted accurately, rapidly and reliably, and after the polls closed, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) certified the results, which was accepted by the representatives of the different political parties.

''This was a first ever of its kind election in many ways for the ARMM, and the fact that we had record voter turnout, results were accepted by all parties, and it is all fully auditable, at Smartmatic-SAHI, we believe this could not have been possible without our trusted voting solution,'' said Antonio Mugica, Chief Executive Officer, Smartmatic.

In the closely monitored election, voters elected Zaldy Ampatuan as the Governor of the province.  Key electoral statistics include:

Voter turn out in Maguindanao: 93.48%
Overall Voter turn out: 84%
Automated precincts: 5170 
Electronic Voting machines used: 2,558
Transmitted  Voters: 1,528,839
Time to Cast Vote:  Less than 30 seconds
Electronic Voting Machine Support Technicians: 533

SAES -- Simpler + Faster automated voting system

The voters in the province of Maguindanao used Smartmatic-SAHI's automated voting solution, which was able to reduce the time needed to cast and transmit votes. In particular, to streamline the process for citizens with limited literacy, photographs of the three gubernatorial candidates appeared on the screen, and voters merely had to touch the candidate of their choice to cast a ballot ' allowing many to cast their vote in under 30 seconds.To provide the highest level of security, the SAES system randomly stores and encrypts votes in seven different places, guaranteeing 100% security and auditability of the voting process. In addition, all Smartmatic-SAHI voting systems are equipped with a voter verified paper trail (VVPT) printed on security-enhanced paper as soon as each vote is cast. This ballot 'receipt' shows the vote the machine has just recorded and allows the voter to verify that their vote was recorded correctly. It also serves as a physical backup in the event of an audit.And to simplify the voting process for authorities, Smartatic-SAHI's systems are 'ready to go' voting solutions.  Preconfigured for each precinct, they require no set-up and only needed to be transported to the appropriate locations. Moreover, since the systems are fully automated they do not require any human interaction to summarize votes ' reducing errors and tampering. And equally important, they are a cost-effective solution ' removing the need for expensive paper ballots.In contrast, citizens in the other 5 provinces (Shariff Kabunsuan, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi) voted on paper ballots, or Optical Mark Reader (OMR). This multi-step process is done by filling in an oval next to the candidate's name, and subsequently, all the ballots are scanned and tallied by a counting machine.The OMR systems were provided by Avante.'The election results showed that Smartmatic automated voting machines, allow voters to cast votes in up to half the time and results to transmitted quickly. But most important, our technology is 100% tamper proof and delivers the ultimate election security,' said Mugica.To ensure a smooth and seamless election, all of SAES voting solutions were equipped with back-up battery packs that last up to 16 hours, as power outages are common in the remote region. In addition, Smartmatic-SAHI's employed 255 network technicians to support the polling centers in Maguindanao and an additional 40 technicians to serve as mobile teams to support canvassing centers as needed.

The following are selected quotes taken from news reports noting officials supporting the use of e-voting in the election.

E-Voting Endorsement, Senator Richard Gordon
''What I saw was not just encouraging. There was enthusiasm among the voters in the automation of the ARMM elections. Voting was fast. With DRE, the entire process is fast and the results come out fast, too. So the losers will feel less pain as they await the results. Kaunting aray na lang [Just a slight pain],'' said Senator Richard Gordon.

E-Voting Spurs turnout, COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez
''With the new technology, the people of Maguindanao were more motivated to vote than ever before,'' Jimenez said, citing reports in places where the so-called direct recording electronic system was used.

''We have seen the long queues of voters eagerly waiting for their turn to vote using the electronic voting machines,'' Jimenez said.

E-Voting choice for 2010, COMELEC chairmain, Jose Melo
After a very significant 84-percent turnout in elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Commission on Elections chairman Jose Armando Melo is confident about replicating the automated election in 2010. ''Tuloy tuloy na 'to. No more stopping, onward to 2010!'' Melo exclaimed in a press conference on Tuesday.

About Smartmatic

Smartmatic is a multinational company that designs and deploys technological solutions aimed at helping governments fulfill, in the most efficient way, their commitments with their citizens. It is one of the largest cutting-edge technology suppliers, with a wide and proven experience in the United States, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Smartmatic aims to help societies become more efficient and transparent, through technological innovations and it is responsible for several top and advanced innovations available in the market around three business areas: electronic auditable voting systems, intelligent and integrated security platforms, and advanced solutions for people registration and authentication for a wide range of government applications.

Smartmatic is a company that has more than 250 employees distributed in offices in The United States, Barbados, Mexico, Venezuela, Spain, Philippines and Taiwan.

About Sahi
Strategic Alliance Holdings, Inc. (SAHI) is a Philippines's consulting organization engaged in large-scale infrastructure projects. Being in the forefront of public-private partnerships SAHI successfully pioneered Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) and Build-Operate-Own (BOO) projects in the Philippines and is the country's lead advocate for e-Government implementation. Among Sahi's significant projects are BOO computerization of the Land Transportation Office (LTO-IT Project STRADCOM) and Land Registration Systems (LARES) in the Philippines, Metro Manila Skyway, Second Vivekananda Bridge Tollway (SVBT) in India (in partnership with Larsen & Toubro, Pacific Alliance Group, and Parsons Brickerhoff). SAHI was recipient of IBM Corp.'s System Integrator of the Year Award 2007 for the Philippines.