Make voting convenient in poor areas too, Comelec urged

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Henrietta de Villa, PPCRV chairperson (left) (Photo: Karla Balili-Guia)

MANILA, Nov. 9, 2015— As voting in shoppings malls get a nod from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), a poll watchdog called on the body to also improve the conditions in its provincial polling stations.

The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) said this is necessary because everybody deserves a more comfortable and convenient voting process even those in poor areas.

Henrietta de Villa, PPCRV chairperson, lauded mall voting as as a “bold and creative innovation” and with good planning can turn out to be “most welcome voter-friendly measure.”

“We also strongly request Comelec to think of similar bold and creative measures to better the conditions of remote voting centers in the provinces, especially those populated by the poor, that they will feel the center of gravity is tilted in their favor and not just in high-end places and persons,” De Villa said.

“Now that densely populated traditional voting centers in urban areas will be decongested by mall voting, the PPCRV would like to remind the Comelec to please re-design/re-formulate the mode and arrangement of voting in the former, so that voters, who will remain in said voting centers, will feel that mall voting benefits them too,” she said.

This was among the concerns raised by the PPCRV in a letter sent to Comelec chairman Andres Bautista on Nov. 5.

Bautista earlier said at least two million people can cast their votes at shopping malls in the May 9, 2016 elections.

Senior citizens, PWDs

However, the PPCRV is concerned about how Comelec will ensure voters privacy, security arrangements, and how to contain the possible influx of candidates’ ad materials outside and inside the malls.

According to De Villa, the mall voting should “benefit first” persons with disabilities and senior citizens by ensuring that voting is done in ground floors of participating malls.

As Comelec’s accredited citizen’s arm, the PPCRV also asked for the early release of the list of malls voting centers and their specific polling precincts and voters’ list.

“This will give us time to familiarize our poll watchers with the voters populating the mall polling precincts they will be watching as well as help Comelec in informing such voters where they will be voting,” De Villa said. (CBCP News)

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