Comelec cites pros of mall voting in 2025

Comelec cites pros of mall voting in 2025

By: - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
/ 05:40 AM March 15, 2024

comelec mall voting

NEW VOTERS Elections Commissioner Erwin Garcia looks over registration activities at the University of Santo Tomas. on March 14. —NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is moving closer to allowing voting in malls during next year’s midterm polls.

Speaking at a registration fair at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila on Thursday, Comelec Chair Erwin Garcia unveiled some details of the mall voting plan, which the poll body will eventually cover in a resolution.


Garcia said not all voting precincts will be relocated to malls and that not all malls will be hosting voting precincts.


READ: Comelec launches ‘Register Anywhere’ 

“We’ll have a consultation process. This means if the majority of [voters] living in a barangay or precinct wishes to vote in the mall, we will let them do so. We won’t force the transfer of the voting venue,” Garcia said.

According to the chair, mall voting “will be allowed nationwide, especially in Metro Manila.”

He said voters living near a mall will most likely be allowed to cast their ballots there.

However, voters in areas with no malls or far from one will not be compelled to vote there.“It’s more comfortable [voting in a mall, where] it’s a bit cooler, no vote buying, no violence, no dirt, no litter and the venue is given to us for free by mall owners and operators without the Comelec having to pay for anything,” he added.

He said he witnessed people who use walking sticks and wheelchairs queuing to vote who would probably welcome being allowed to cast their ballots in a mall.


Alternative venues needed

Garcia said mall owners and operators would be willing to host voting precincts for free in exchange for earnings from voters and other visitors flocking to the mall.

The Comelec chief said that voting will continue to be held in public schools, but the practice should end soon, he added, considering that the Department of Education (DepEd) shoulders voting-related expenses such as water, electricity, and repairs.

“Enough of using elementary schools [as voting centers]. As I said to our local [election] officers, we should find other venues; elementary schools are for elementary [pupils],” he said.

He said other public places in a village could serve as alternative voting venues instead of the “crowded elementary schools.”

Nevertheless, Garcia said the poll body had asked the budget department to propose funds for the Comelec to use to compensate the DepEd’s expenses in allowing public schools to serve as voting centers next year.

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The poll body piloted mall voting during the 2023 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections. Turnout was high and the Comelec said the activity was a success.

TAGS: Comelec, Elections, mall voting, voting

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