Business Mirror - Expanded use of mailed ballots will be good for PHL voters, but a challenge to Comelec

8 November 2020

By Samuel P. Medenilla | Business Mirror

WHILE the expanded use of mail voting will be more convenient for voters, it will be more challenging for the Commission on Election (Comelec) to successfully implement.

In her Twitter account, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon disclosed such a scheme may require the poll body to complete the printing of ballots at least 60 days before the actual election.

This is needed to account for the period for the mailed votes to be received by Comelec.

This may serve as a challenge for Comelec since in the last elections, Comelec was still printing ballots a month before the 2019 polls.

Nevertheless, Guanzon said that, given the necessary preparations, the feat is possible.

“Early voting and expanded local absentee voting can work. We have Local Absentee (Voting) Law. Voting for law enforcers, AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), teachers, media on duty on Election Day can vote early, and votes counted on Election Day,” Guanzon said.

She said this was demonstrated by the United States in its recent presidential elections even amid the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, which posed restrictions to voters.

To minimize the long mailing time for the ballots, Guanzon said the government could consider tapping other mailing services aside from the Philippine Postal Corporation (PhilPost).

She said this may be in the form of guarded drop boxes instead.

“Turnout of votes will be high if we have mail voting. More PWDs (persons with disabilities), elderly, pregnant women can vote if by mail … drop boxes in guarded sites may be better,” Guanzon said.