Daily Tribune : Extended voting hours seen

News & Interviews
11 May 2021

By Daily Tribune

Going beyond one-day voting is unlikely since its legality could be questioned given that extended voting days are not provided under election laws.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday announced that the voting for the 2022 national elections is likely to be extended by two to three hours amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

In a statement, Comelec commissioner Antonio Kho Jr. said that the election will be held in a day, but it would be likely that it will be held with extended voting hours as eight hours will not be enough to complete the voting process.

“The direction we are going is to hold it in a day with extended voting hours. That is almost sure,” Kho said during the forum on ensuring safe, fair and free 2022 elections hosted by the Ateneo School of Government.

“Eight hours won’t cut it. It could run 10 or even 12 hours, depending also on the capacity of the teachers,” he added.

During elections in the country, teachers serve as Board of Election Inspectors and Kho said that it will be probable that there will be additional two or three hours for the process.

Kho stressed that going beyond the one-day voting is unlikely since its legality could be questioned given that extended voting days are not provided under election laws.

“We might need Congress to amend the law for that,” Kho said. “If we do extend voting days and the election is questioned before the Supreme Court, everything will be for nothing.”

The Comelec official added that they are looking to revert to 2016 level of voters to precinct ratio of 800 voters per precinct to be able to observe social distancing and other minimum public health standards.

He also noted that the poll body is looking at buying 10,000 more Vote Counting Machines (VCM) for the 2022 polls.

“We have 97,000 VCM, but of course, some of them need to be repaired or refurbished and we don’t expect them to be all okay, so we are looking at buying 10,000 more VCM to comply with the 800 per precinct ratio,” Kho said.

Comelec records show that there are at least 61 million registered voters for the 2022 polls.