Comelec to hold hearings for mall voting
THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) has authorized poll officials to conduct public hearings on the proposal to set up voting precincts in shopping malls.
“All concerned Election Officers (EOs)…are hereby authorized to conduct public hearings relative to mall voting,” according to Comelec Resolution No. 10059.
The public hearings would ascertain the sentiments of the affected voters, candidates, political parties, accredited citizens’ arms and other stakeholders on the proposed transfer of some clustered precincts to malls.
“For this purpose, the Election and Barangay Affairs Department (EBAD) shall prepare a list of all the participating malls, barangays, voting centers, clustered precincts and the number of voters who will be affected by the proposed transfer,” the resolution said.
The Comelec has been pushing for the conduct of voting in malls “to enhance the voting experience.”
Mall sites will also help reduce the number of voters per precinct and decongest public schools, the poll agency had said.
Comelec Chair Andres Bautista said the idea of holding elections inside shopping malls would be part of the poll agency’s efforts to make voting more convenient for the public.
‘Ills of elections’
“There are a lot of ills of elections that we can mitigate if we allow voting inside malls, like vote-buying, violence, and the issue of impatient voters. You know, people tend to become irritable and hot-tempered if they’re in crowded areas. At least in malls, even if there are many people and long queues, there is the air-conditioning system to keep them cool,” he said in a previous interview.
Bautista argued that the voting experience in a mall setting would ensure that people would be “happier” while they cast their votes, so it should also lead to greater voter turnout.
Bautista said senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) would be given a priority lane should they decide to vote in malls.
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