Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said 15,000 to 20,000 journalists and media technical crew members were expected to avail of the absentee voting option for media members.
“Local absentee voters shall vote any day on April 28, 29 and 30 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.,” the Comelec said in a resolution on absentee voting released Thursday.
To be able to vote, members of the press must first file on or before March 31 their application forms before the offices of the Provincial Elections Supervisors, City Election Officers and the Office of the Regional Election Director for those in Metro Manila, the Comelec said.
Those who can vote in advance include print, television, photo, online and radio journalists as well as documentary makers and television/radio production staffs.
Jimenez said media men should apply “individually,” and not course their application through their offices and also submit a certification from their superiors that they would not be able to vote on May 13 because of a conflict with their election coverage schedule that day.
Media voters’ list
Jimenez said the poll body would later release the list of media personnel who can vote in advance of May 13.
“That is why it’s important that they get the number of election office where they filed their application so that they can check if it was approved,” Jimenez said.
The Comelec said media men should also go to these election offices to cast their votes.
This is the first time that members of the media will be allowed to avail of the local absentee voting (LAV), which previously covered only concerned government employees like members of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The Comelec decided to allow members of the press to vote in advance after media men Noel Angel Alamar, Ariel Ayala, Leslie Ann Aquino, Gerard Anthony Naval, Sheila Crisostomo and Jennifer Manongdo filed a petition on behalf of other members of the industry.
However, the voting for the local absentee will be manual. The ballots of local absentee voters will be placed inside sealed envelopes and sent to the Comelec head office in Intramuros, Manila.
The Special Board of Election Inspectors (SBEI) will convene on election day to count the votes cast by all local absentee voters.