COMELEC backs absentee voting for seniors, but mail-in system could be complicated

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 02 2021 08:28 PM

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on Saturday said it favored proposals allowing senior citizens to vote safely amid a pandemic.

COMELEC spokesman James Jimenez said senior citizens would be vulnerable in a crowded polling center at high risk of COVID-19 infection.

"Ang nakikita nating problema sa darating na halalan is magsisisikan ang lahat sa maliliit na polling places which is a very dangerous place to be pagdating sa usaping pandemya," Jimenez said in an interview on Teleradyo.

"So gusto natin magkaroon ng absentee voting for senior citizens at mayroon nga pong panukala dyan. Kami ay tumutulong sa kongreso para maipasa iyan."

Jimenez added that the COMELEC also backed suggestions allowing senior citizens to cast their votes by mail.

But it is more complicated than absentee voting, he said.

"Kami sa COMELEC we support these methods, gusto natin 'yan. Pero specifically about mail-in voting tandaan natin na hindi lang COMELEC ang kailangang kausap dyan. Kailangan din ang postal service natin kasi ang postal office will carry the bulk of work there," Jimenez said.

"It's a bill right now, hindi ko lang alam kung maipapasa iyan in time."

Jimenez said it was hard to say if the country's postal service could retrofit itself to handle such an undertaking.

"Kung ako kung pwedeng mag mail in voting magmemail in ako e and I'm not a senior citizen. It's an alternative mode that will attract a lot of people but it will take a lot of work," he said.

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