Showing posts with label Gibo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gibo. Show all posts

Monday, May 10, 2010

PCOS is not the bottleneck: Additional Data on Voting Throughput of Clusters (Election 2010)

Did the Comelec commit a huge omission on election day?

Sure, the presidential elections is a huge political process, a huge exercise in patriotism, and a game changing decision making process whose results will affect not only our generation but also the generations to come.

But isn't the elections a huge manufacturing process as well? It is a customer interface of great magnitude. The voters are being processed by a system that is monopolistic, they have no choice on the matter.

Unfortunately, it seems nobody has ever conducted a study of the voting process from the point of view of operations management.

This is a huge omission considering that this process involves 50 million people undergoing a poorly studied and poorly managed physical process.

Comelec and the management groups missed out on designing and conducting a time and motion study of the actual voting process on election day.

Queuing theory, line balancing, critical paths, load distribution, capacity utilization, probability density functions - this could have been a huge management study.

For example, like what I have done below and in the previous blog, the PCOS count and the time elapsed could have been taken down every 30 minutes by the youth volunteers and the by the BEI themselves by filling out a simple form. This process takes less than 10 seconds, every 30 minutes.

All those data points can actually be used to do curve-fitting. When is the peak time? Where is the bottleneck? Is the process quadratic? Exponential?

Can you imagine if Comelec and the management associations had this information collated on the 76,500 PCOS clusters? What a wealth of management information!

In a very simple way, I attempted to do this by gathering actual data from the BEI's (had some extra help, of course) and the survey below reflects my feeble attempt at extracting scientific data and illustrating the kind of studies that can actuall be done.

But then there's always 2013. I can volunteer to help Comelec design such a study. I am not an expert but at least I have already done here what the Comelec and other agencies and private management associations could and should have done. Although, this study below has obvious limitations.

Is the voting process a Poisson process or a Gaussian process? How do we manage the queue? Should we encourage the voters to come early and frontload the process thereby having a peak load at 8am with almost no load at 5pm?

The PCOS is not the bottleneck of the voting process. In fact it has been idle most of the time. The reason for the low throughput is the slow passing of the filled-up ballots by the voters. This is due to the low number of voters being processed at one time.

Offhand, one of my suggestions is: Instead of 10 voters at a time, Comelec should allow 30 (or 15) voters at a time (find the space). After one goes out, one voter must be allowed in. In this manner, at any given minute somebody is finished filling up the ballots and feed it to the PCOS machine.


1. This report should be read in conjunction with the previous blog on voting time.
2. Voter turnout in this school (19 clusters) is only 67.3% (in highly urban district) where the next elementary school is just about 1 to 2 km away. (12,332/18,329 - this is not a small school)
3. Did the voters leave but did not return?
4. The lowest turnout is 57.4% (560/975)
5. The actual throughput of the entire school of 19 cluster is 1.06 min/voter (17.47 hours for 1,000 voters)
6. As of 6:40 practically no more voters.
7. PCOS machines is not primary reason for low throughput. It is the low number of voters passing their finished ballots (instead of 10 voters at one time, they should make it 30)

Survey Time from 6:39PM to 6:54 pm (19 clusters of Mabolo Elem. School Cebu City

ClusterTime TakenTime Elapsed (Minutes)PCOS Count Read (Ballots)RegisteredTurnout PercentageMinutes per VoterFinal Results?

* waiting less than 5 voters as of survey times

Note: The minutes per voter not reliable bec no more voters at survey time

The minutes per voter for those with waiting are applicable

Average Minutes per Voter (for clusters with waiting voters):1.06482117

Average Turnout
   12,332.00    18,329.00 67.3%

The Time of Voting: Actual Throughput of the Voting Process Via the PCOS Scanning Count


1. (Survey was taken 10 am to 11 am Monday May 10, 2010; although taken from one school, the experience nationwide should be similar to these figures taken for 19 clusters)

Conduct your own: Ask your BEI for current PCOS count and take down exact time (Pls set your time to true and correct time; your computer clock is accurate if connected to internet). You can email me your results and I will include that in this survey. Or send to sun cell: 0922 346 1273

2. Throughput is the ultimate measurement of the voting process as an operational management issue. How many voters pass through the system during a given period of time? This is critical because this is the point of customer contact. The government is just lucky it is a monopoly. Otherwise, in a free competition regime, only a few will go to the government as a service provider.

3. For example, in cluster 157, a total 190 voters passed through the system in first 219 minutes of operations, giving a throughput of 1.15 voters per minute. This figure already includes all the hassles, the waiting time, the setup time, etc. This is the throughput figure of the entire system given all its problems.

4. Since there are 19 clusters in this survey, this should be enough to give us an idea of what is the throughput figure for each cluster throughout the country.

5. The process is non-linear. It is probably quadratic or exponential. What is meant by this? For example, if the current throughput is 1.86 minutes per ballot, it does not mean that this speed will remain the same. It is expected to speed up because the initial time spent for setting up the PCOS and the voter's queue will have been compensated in the later part of the day.

6. Non-linear also means that if it takes 213 minutes to process 271 voters, it doesn't mean that the only 271 voters will be processed in the next 213 minutes.

7. This report includes all (100%) of all the clusters in one school.

8. The fastest time is 0.786 minutes per voter, while the slowest time is 1.86 minutes per voter.

9. The average for the entire school during the given survey period is 1.16 minutes per voter.

10. Assuming 1000 voters per cluster, and assuming the same throughput speed, it would take the fastest cluster 13.1 hours to process the 1,000 voters. For the slowest cluster, it would take 31.1 hours.

11. The ideal number of voters per cluster is 568.9 voters assuming a cluster throughput rate of 1.16 minutes per voter with opening time of 11 hours.

12. This report is 100% accurate but its implications as to total time required to process the entire 1000 voters rests on the linearity assumption, that is, assuming the the same speed.

13. However, in reality, this linearity assumption is false. Because of the learning curve and since there is no longer any setup time required in the later part of the day, then the speed is not constant. It is expected to be quadratic or exponential.

14. But at least, this report is based on "actual and real" process times, therefore very useful for future elections.

15. This report also gives the Comelec some guidance on  how to conducts the tests, and how to measure the voting process.

16.The much taunted "Time to Fill Up the Ballot" parameter is useless. Comelec must conduct a real throughput measurement of the system in the future.

17. The Comelec must conduct an entire day "walkthrough" of the entire voting process, to see how the machines behave under hot conditions of frequent scanning, to see how the battery works, what are the bottlenecks of the entire voting process etc.

This is an Operations Research (OR) and Operations Management (OM) issue.

The Time of Voting: The Actual Throughput of the Voting Process via the PCOS Scanning Results

How fast is the actual voting speed? How many ballots are actually being read per minute?

Report compiled by Thads Bentulan

Actual Report 100% All Clusters of Mabolo Elementary School (Cebu City) 

(Time Taken from 10:04 am to 10:47 am Monday May 10 2010)

Start Time 7:00:00 AM

Cluster No. PCOS Count  of Ballots Read (Persons) Time Taken Total Time Elapsed (Minutes) Time Per Voter (Minutes per Voter) Time to Finish 1000 voters (Hours)

157 190 10:39:00 AM 219 1.1526 19.211

158 218 10:38:00 AM 218 1.0000 16.667

159 202 10:36:00 AM 216 1.0693 17.822

160 222 10:34:00 AM 214 0.9640 16.066

161 271 10:33:00 AM 213 0.7860 13.100 Fastest

162 224 10:32:00 AM 212 0.9464 15.774

163 180 10:30:00 AM 210 1.1667 19.444

164 209 10:29:00 AM 209 1.0000 16.667

165 151 10:28:00 AM 208 1.3775 22.958

166 193 10:26:00 AM 206 1.0674 17.789

167 200 10:24:00 AM 204 1.0200 17.000

168 106 10:18:00 AM 198 1.8679 31.132 Slowest

169 164 10:12:00 AM 192 1.1707 19.512

170 122 10:11:00 AM 191 1.5656 26.093

171 189 10:10:00 AM 190 1.0053 16.755

172 133 10:09:00 AM 189 1.4211 23.684

173 194 10:04:00 AM 184 0.9485 15.808

174 165 10:47:00 AM 227 1.3758 22.929

175 197 10:44:00 AM 224 1.1371 18.951

Total Ballots Read During Survey Period 3530

Ave Time 1.1601

Total Clusters 19

Total time for 1000 voters 19.33479

Average Ballots Read Per Cluster 185.7895

Ideal no. of voters per cluster 568.9227 for 11-hour period given the ave. throughput

Average Time Elapsed for Survey 206.5263

Average Time Per Ballot Read (Minutes Per Ballot) 1.1601

Fastest (minutes per voter) 0.7860

Slowest (minutes per voter) 1.8679

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Administration candidate: Gilbert Teodoro (Gibo Teodoro & Street Strategist)

Today, Sept 16, 2009, Lakas-Kampi chose bar topnotcher Gilbert Teodoro as presidential candidate....

way back in time... 9 years ago...


Hoping to discuss issues with Thads
Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. November 5, 2002

I really enjoyed your column on the Juan Luna auction just as I have always enjoyed reading your past columns.

Your columns are not only well-researched and well-reasoned but they are presented in an easily digestible manner.

What struck me in your column today was your point about the vicious cycle whereby we Filipinos demand a service ex- power and the airport terminal and then try to get out of the consequences in what we feel is a bad bargain through the courts or through other agencies of the government. You also pointed out the fact that government remains indifferent in the first instance and then only reacts when foreigners get our assets after going through all the legalities for that matter. To me this is a case of crab mentality which is still endemic in our society, particularly in government. It is also the main reason for the inability of our national leaders to succeed.

Our legal and political system, to my mind, rather than discarding this trait actually reinforces it by allowing politics and public pressure to enter legitimate transactions and bargains. Foreign communities shall never regard us as worthwhile if we cannot present ourselves as a fair and reliable counterparty in economic transactions.

I think I've said enough for now, I just sensed from your column today that you feel the same way I do about government and our society.

I look forward to reading more of your columns in the future and I do hope we get to meet and discuss these issues.


Rep. 1'st District Tarlac

House of Representatives

N218 Batasang Pambansa