To prevent overcrowding of voters in polling precincts during the coming elections, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon called on lawmakers to pass a bill amending the provision in Election Code to allow the extension of suffrage to more than one day.
While Guanzon expects mass vaccination to happen this year, she stressed it is still not safe to assume the country will be free of the crisis caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) until the elections next year.
Considering the number of voters flocking in various voting precincts, the poll official is keen on prolonging the holding of votes.
The poll commissioner is also calling for members of Congress to pass a bill allowing an increase in the limit on campaign expenses.
“We need a law amending that provision that limits voting to only one day. Pass an Early Voting Act or amend the Local Absentee Voting Act,” Guanzon noted.
In a radio interview on Sunday, Guanzon stressed the Local Absentee Voting Act should be amended to allow voters with disabilities, the elderly, pregnant women and persons deprived of liberty to vote early.
Absentee voting only allows government officials and employees, including members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) as well as members of the media, media practitioners including their technical and support staff who are duly registered voters to cast their ballots early.
Guanzon added individuals with high risk of infection should cast their votes ahead of others.
According to the poll commissioner this will not only ease the voting process but will also will ensure more voters.
Meanwhile, the poll commissioner is also calling for members of Congress to pass a bill allowing an increase in the limit on campaign expenses.
The poll body expects candidates for the next elections to rely solely on campaigning through social media and television advertisements to make their pitches amid the pandemic.