Comelec eyes extension of voting hours, less voters per precinct
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Election (Comelec) on Monday said election hours in May 2022 would be extended, while they also plan on decreasing voters per cluster precinct to easily implement safety protocols for COVID-19.
Comelec Commissioner Antonio Kho Jr. said the election period would be extended for about a few hours, noting the usual eight-hour period is no longer applicable, given the social distancing requirements during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Comelec has the power naman to extend the voting hours, almost sure na yan na it will be extended, pag-uusapan pa kung gaano kahaba ang extension,” he said in a virtual media forum. “Yung dating eight-hour na election hindi na applicable yan.”
(Comelec has the power to extend the voting hours. We are almost sure that it will be extended, although we would still talk about how long the extension will be. The usual eight-hour election is not applicable anymore.)
Kho said that instead of eight-hours, the period could be extended up to 10-12 hours.
“It would be extended up to 10 or even 12 [hours], depende din naman yan. Kawawa din naman ang ating mga teachers, we have to consider this also, tignan din ang capacity nila to absorb,” he noted.
(It would be extended up to 10 or even 12 [hours], it still depends. We have to consider our teachers also, let’s see their capacity to absorb.)
Meanwhile, Comelec is also looking into decreasing the number of voters per cluster precinct, which depends on the number of voter counting machines (VCMs).
Kho explained that there were 1,000 voters per cluster precinct last 2019 elections, a fifth higher than the 800 voters per cluster precinct last 2016.
“Ang limitations kasi natin dito is yung number ng ating voting counting machines (VCM),” he noted. (Our limitations here are the number of our voter counting machines.)
“Now for 2022 elections, we plan to lower it back to 800 per cluster precinct, or even lower depends sa availability ng VCMs natin,” he added.
He also noted that there are currently 97,000 voter counting machines, which was used since the 2016 and 2019 elections. To augment the VCMs, Kho said the commission may possibly purchase about 10,000 more VCMs.
“Our voting machines will be subjected to refurbishment papaayos natin para maging optimum of performance siya, we don’t expect na lahat yan ay OK,” he said. “We are looking into acquiring additional machines, sabihin nating 10,000 units.”
(Our voting machines will be subjected to refurbishment to see to it that they have optimum performance, but we don’t expect that all of that would work, so, we are also looking to acquire additional machines, let’s say around 10,000 units.)
“As of now ang nakikita namin, around 800 per cluster precinct,” he said. (As of now we are still looking at 800 per cluster precinct.)
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