Comelec to pilot early voting, mall voting for barangay and SK elections


Posted at May 25 2023 03:47 PM | Updated as of May 25 2023 04:17 PM

A senior citizen casts her vote in the May 2022 national elections in Quezon City. File/Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday said it is pilot-testing early voting and mall voting in the upcoming barangay and Sangguninang Kabataan elections.

Commissioner George Garcia said early voting would be pilot tested in Muntinlupa City and Sorosogon City.

"Ang gagawin po muna natin magpa-pilot test po tayo sa 2 malaking siyudad, kung saan pwede nating gawin na yung early voting hours for senior citizens," he said.

"Subukan po natin, pag po naging effective yan, gawin na po natin sa buong bansa sa 2025," he said, referring to the midterm elections.

(We will do pilot testing in two big cities to see if we can do early voting hours for senior citizens. If it's effective, we'll do it nationwide in 2025.)

He said they are still in talks with the Department of Education to see if teachers would be willing to make people vote from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. at the pilot venues.

He noted, however, that polls need not open early for seniors come election day if Congress passes a law allowing more sectors of society to vote ahead of the general elections.

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"Kasi po naipasa na po sa House of Representatives 'yun pong early voting for senior citizens, (persons with disability), pregnant women, kasama nga po ang lawyers. Early voting, para pong local absentee voting ng (Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines), media, atsaka 'yung iba pang government employees," he noted.

"Kung makakahabol po 'yung batas na 'yun, at talagang magiging batas na, hindi na po namin kailangan 'yung early voting hours, kundi talagang early voting or at least one week or two weeks before the election," he explained.

(The House of Representatives has passed a bill allowing the early voting of senior citizens, pregnant women, and PWDs, similar to the local absentee voting of the PNP, AFP, the media, and some government employees. If that pushes through, there will be no need for early voting; they'll just vote at least one or two weeks before the polls.) 

Garcia also said they are pilot-testing mall voting in the October 30 elections. 

"Meron din po tayong pilot-testing ng mall voting, 7 malls sa Metro Manila, at the same time meron po tayong 2 lugar sa regions, ta-try po nation sa Region 8, atsaka sa Region 5 din," he said.

(We are doing the pilot testing for mall voting at 7 malls in Metro Manila and 2 malls in the regions — one in Region 8 and the other in Region 5.)

He also said they are coordinating with barangay officials in the areas surrounding the malls to see if they would be open to voting here.

"Ongoing po 'yung ginagawa naming consultation, sa mga barangays na nakapaligid sa mall kung payag po sila kasi kung saka-sakali po, hindi natin mapupuwersa 'yun pong mga kababayan natin na lumipat ng lugar kung saan sila bumuboto," he said.

(Consultations are ongoing with barangays around the malls because if ever, we can't force them to change their polling place.)

— TeleRadyo, 25 May 2023