UNITED States Ambassador Kristie Kenney has expressed support for the country’s first automated national elections in 2010, but stressed clean elections “are not all about machines.”

In a visit to UST last September 25, Kenney said the integrity of next year’s polls depended on the electorate.

“It’s not about having a machine in every voting center. As long as you are confident that the votes are tallied legitimately and people vote independently in choosing who they want to vote for, machines don’t necessarily matter,” Kenney said in a press conference at the Rector’s Hall.

She reminded people that there is no perfect candidate, saying that even US President Barack Obama did not get 100 percent of American votes.

When asked who among the country’s political figures may be likened to Obama, Kenney replied, “No one.”

“This country has a lot of great people even outside the political arena. Every time I am asked that tricky question, I say ‘No one’,” she said.

“Barack Obama is a very inspirational candidate for many Americans, but he did not get 100 percent of the votes,” she added.

“I hope you vote for the person whom you feel is towards the direction you want.”

Rector Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P. welcomed Kenney to the University at his office. The US envoy visited the Museum of Arts and Sciences, and afterwards had a dialogue with student leaders at the UST-Tan Yan Kee Student Center.

Questions from students were screened beforehand. Security was tight and the Student Center was shut down the whole day as part of security measures for Kenney’s visit.

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Kenney thanked the University “for being generous” at the time when American prisoners were interned in the campus during the Japanese occupation, and said the embassy would be willing to assist UST in its quadricentennial celebrations.

The University was transformed into a concentration camp by Japanese invaders during World War II, housing over 4,000 Americans, mostly civilians and persons with disabilities.

“If there are other things we could contribute, it would still depend to you,” she said.

“We don’t want to sound pushy and tell you how to do your celebration. If I am invited, I would absolutely come,” she added.

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