Q:Does Smartmatic manufacture election technology?
FACT: Yes. Smartmatic has designed, manufactured and sold more electronic voting machines and election optical scanners than any other private company in the world
Q: Does Smartmatic outsource parts of its manufacturing?
FACT: Yes. Just like companies Apple and HP, Smartmatic has sub-contracted with manufacturing facilities in China and Taiwan to assemble parts for more than 250,000 voting machines as well as sizable quantities of other equipment.
Smartmatic owns the intellectual property and licenses of all its existing systems. This facilitates constant improvements through continuous software and hardware upgrades.
Q:Do Smartmatic’s voting machines improve the voting process?
FACT: Yes. Smartmatic's mission is to improve the "integrity in the democratic process by increasing citizen engagement and trust and enabling better societies and better governments." Smartmatic's voting machines use the objective authority of technology to produce dependable and truthful results. Smartmatic is known for conducting the first national elections using voting machines that print paper trails, which allows voters to verify that their vote was properly recorded.
Q: Is it true that Smartmatic machines are low-grade and are developed in Venezuela?
FACT: False. Smartmatic is a multi-national firm founded in the USA, with its headquarters in London. The company’s founders are from Venezuela and nationals from over 30 countries working from different offices around the world. Smartmatic invests heavily in developing their software and hardware.
Smartmatic’s systems and technology have been praised by various election observers, including the Organization of American States, the Carter Center, the European Union and the International Foundation of Electoral Systems. The Carter Center has described one of the systems developed by Smartmatic as the “best voting system in the world, since it makes verifying the election results easier”.
Q: What voting technology has Smartmatic developed?
FACT: Smartmatic supplies hardware and software designed to improve the accuracy, security, and efficiency of elections. Their Election-360 software assists in the planning, dispatch of election materials, incident reporting, and procedural support to manage and monitor the election logistics. Their Election Management System (EMS) handles contents and jurisdiction specification, polling stations, candidate registration, ballot generation, results collection, results tabulation, winner proclamation, and election results publication. EMS generates all the tools necessary for a completely automated election.
Additionally, Smartmatic has developed the Real-Time Electoral Information System (REIS) which counts and tabulates votes, creates reports for publication, and streamlines all functions to help authorities announce winners and results within minutes of the poll closing. Smartmatic’s Identity Management System (IDMS) utilizes biometric data and advanced encrypting mechanisms to create a clean database of voter identities, which ensures election security.
Smartmatic has developed a variety of hardware including the VIU-800, SAES-3377, SAES-A3, SAES-4000 series advanced voting machine, VIA-100 voter identification unit, VP-1500 voting pad, and the Cut & Drop. More recently, Smartmatic has been featured in the news for their selfie-voting app, which uses a biometric facial scan to create an encrypted voter identity.
Q: Is Smartmatic’s technology "flawed"?
FACT: No. Smartmatic has delivered a secured, efficient and flawless elections while processing over 3.7 billion votes in election projects in five continents.
The company has a strong reputation by running tests before Election Day to ensure successful outcome. This highlights any issues that need to be tackled and has been the key to Smartmatic’s trustworthy track record.
This pre-election test corrects any issues that might arise before an election. A good example of this took place during pre-election testing in the Philippines (2010). Before the elections, Smartmatic was able to track an issue with the compact flash cards provided by its subcontractor.
Smartmatic readily replaced bad data in the compact flash cards, a process overseen by authorities, to guarantee that the change corrected any issues and that the integrity of the election was perfect. Smartmatic answered for all the costs of this replacement.
Smartmatic's Services Facts
Q. Besides software and hardware, what is the scope of Smartmatic's services?
FACT: Smartmatic provides both software, hardware, and services to its clients. Smartmatic has the industry experience and knowledge to offer services such as consulting, training, planning, managing, monitoring and implementation – covering all stages of the electoral process.
Smartmatic provides an array of services in all stages of the election. Pre-election, Smartmatic is able to provide legal framework analysis, polling location management and voter administration. During the election, Smartmatic can provide staff management, observer accreditation, candidate administration, campaign monitoring, ballot production, staff training, logistics, voting, and consolidation. Following the election, Smartmatic can wrap up the process with audits and reports.
Q: What is Smartmatic’s approach to managing large elections?
Although Smartmatic’s software accomplishes a lot, the Smartmatic team provides project management that ensures the transparent, accurate, and fast delivery of results. Smartmatic emphasizes flexibility when managing elections. The company is continuously cultivating their project management methods. The methods are based on the Project Management Institute (PMI) standards and each project manager and controller is a certified project management professional (PMP.) This ensures that the leadership has the education, experience, and ability to capably manage elections globally.
Q.What was the first election Smartmatic assisted with?
FACT: The first election that Smartmatic assisted with was the Venezuelan election in 2004. After years of attempting e-counting for votes, the Venezuelan National Electoral Council organized a competition for companies to provide e-voting technology that would automate the elections and maintain security and accuracy. Smartmatic won and was able to provide the election management and software necessary for the first national election ever to feature a paper trail (VVPAT.) The VVPAT became an industry standard and changed the landscape of voting, due to its ability to allow each voter to verify their vote was recorded properly and the ease of audits and recounts.
Q: Did the voting technology fail in the Philippines, and is Smartmatic responsible for said failure?
FACT: No. 100% of the votes were accurately counted in all the automated elections in the Philippines (2010, 2013 and 2016). The electronic transmission rate was 90% for the 2010 general elections and 76% for the 2013 mid-term elections. The former rate being higher, as Smartmatic had full control of the transmission.
Several factors beyond the control of Smartmatic prevented electronic transmission from reaching 100%. For example, in some areas, weak signals or the absence of telecommunications coverage prevented results from being electronically transmitted. However, the results that were not electronically transmitted were added to the count by physically transporting the CF cards to canvassing centers.
On May 9, 2016, Filipino voters headed to 36,805 polling centers nationwide to vote for the 2016 National and Local Elections. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic became partners in deploying 92,509 Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) and 1,739 centers to consolidate votes. This election became the most peaceful polls in the Philippines.
This election marked the third consecutive time that the Philippines automated its national elections. The previous two such democratic exercises in 2010 and 2013 have already made the Philippines a world reference for best-run elections.
It is important to note that in both elections, results were published much faster than in the days of manual counting where it took weeks for authorities to announce the election winner.