MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) said that the voting period for the upcoming 2022 elections, which will be happening during the COVID-19 pandemic, will possibly be extended by two to three hours.
“The direction we are going is to hold it in a day with extended voting hours. That is almost sure. Eight hours won’t cut it. It could run 10 or even 12 hours, depending also on the capacity of the teachers,” Comelec Commissioner Antonio Kho said.
On the issue of having more than one day for voting, Commissioner Kho said it is doubtful since its legality could be questioned given that extended voting days are not provided under election laws.
“We might need Congress [to amend the law] for that. Kung gawin kasi natin tapos may mag-kwestiyon sa Supreme Court, patay na lahat,” he pointed out.
From 1,000 votes per precinct in 2019 polls, Kho said the Comelec is looking at reverting to the 2016 level of voters to precinct ratio of 800 voters per precinct to be able to observe social distancing, among other minimum public health standards.
“We have 97,000 VCMs, but of course, some of them need to be repaired [or] refurbished and we don’t expect them to be all okay, so we are looking at buying 10,000 more VCMs to comply with the 800 per precinct ratio,” Kho said.
Based on Comelec records, there are at least 61 million registered voters for the 2022 polls.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez earlier said that there is no reason to postpone the 2022 elections even amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the poll body is planning the 2022 elections on a scenario that herd immunity against COVID-19 is not yet reached.
Written by: Marcus Perez
Source: GMA Network