Early voting pushed by Election Code amendment
MANILA, Philippines - Aiming to decongest polling stations, Sen. Richard Gordon sought to amend the Omnibus Election Code to allow early voting during the elections.
In his explanatory note on Senate Bill 2972, Gordon said the goal of early voting will not only decongest polling precincts but also lessen the burden on election officers and increase participation in the elections.
The senator said the bill seeks to amend Batas Pambansa Bilang 881 and allow voters to cast their votes on a single or series of days prior to an election.
"Expanding voting to more than one day can reduce the risk of overworked poll workers making mistakes, and in the scenario of automated elections, the risk of having broken automated election machines," Gordon said.
He said national elections in the Philippines have traditionally been set on a single day particularly on the second Monday of May, as mandated by the Constitution.
The senator said in Canada, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and 46 states in America, where early voting is allowed, a person may cast his vote in a designated early voting polling stations or by mail.
"With early voting, voters who may not be able to vote on a single Election Day are allowed to participate. Beneficiaries of early voting statutes include people who will be out of the polling area during the election period, poll workers, campaign workers, the elderly, and people with medical procedures scheduled for that time, among others," Gordon said.
Under the bill, the senator proposed that the early voting period begin on the 10th day before an election and end on the 3rd day before the date of the election.
He said the Commission on Elections shall designate an early voting precinct for each municipality 30 days before the date of the election and issue the necessary rules and guidelines to implement it.
The bill also seeks to amend the 8 am to 3 pm voting hours and start the voting period at 7 in the morning until 7 in the evening.
Gordon said the votes cast during the early voting period will still be counted only on election day.
Gordon pushes Election Code amendment to allow early voting
Amita Legaspi, GMANews.TV
12/30/2008 | 03:46 PM