By Leslie Ann Aquino | Manila Bulletin
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is thinking of acquiring additional ballot boxes for the May 2022 polls.
Comelec Commissioner Antonio Kho explained that many ballot boxes remain unavailable due to the pendency of several poll protests.
“We still have protest cases so the ballots used in these cases are still in these ballot boxes. Therefore, we cannot use them,” he said in an online forum Wednesday, May 26.
“We need to know if the courts will allow us to use it for 2022. Otherwise, we will have to acquire new additional ballot boxes,” Kho added.
The poll official said they have directed the Special Bids and Awards Committee to prepare the Terms of Reference for the acquisition of additional ballot boxes.
Aside from ballot boxes, the Comelec is also looking at acquiring additional vote counting machines (VCMs.)
“We are looking at acquiring additional VCMs. Hopefully, it will reduce the number of voters from 1,000 to 800 voters or even lower. But we also know that this is a function of cost as the machines are very expensive,” said Kho.
He said the Commission en banc is still discussing the matter.
Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas earlier this year revealed the plan of the poll body to increase the number of VCMs that will be used in the May 2022 polls to prevent people from clustering in every polling precinct amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Our initial plan is to have at least five voters at a time casting their votes,” he said.
“This is why we will need to increase the number of VCMs that we will be using,” Abas added.
A clustered precinct is assigned with one VCM which can accommodate 800 to 1,000 registered voters.