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Comelec wants to create new precincts for PWDs and senior citizens

from NAMFREL Election Monitor Vol.2, No.13

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In a House Committee on Suffrage hearing on June 1 to discuss a bill mandating the use of ground-floor polling places for persons with disabilities and senior citizens, the Comelec, through Commissioners Rene Sarmiento and Armando Velasco, recommended that separate precincts be formed for said voters, to be referred to as "highly-accessible polling places." The Comelec said these polling places would have their own separate voters lists, special Boards of Election Inspectors (SBEIS), election paraphernalia, and PCOS machines (should the
election be automated using Smartmatic's machines).

The original bill, House Bill no. 4048 authored by Rep. Teddy CasiƱo (et al), only seeks the designation of special rooms for PWDs and senior citizens at the ground floor of multi-storey polling centers, and requires only the alocation of extra ballot boxes for the purpose. It does not call for the creation of additional polling centers. Per the bill, "At the end of the day, before the counting of ballots or transmission of votes, the assigned board of election inspectors shall submit the ballot boxes to the corresponding precincts for consolidation.

The Comelec said they will conduct a study to ascertain how much additional funds their proposal would require.

A challenge for the Comelec is the possibility of having a special registration just for PWDs and senior citizens if their proposal to have separate voters lists for these voters is approved. At present, whether a voter has a disability or not is not being captured in their registration process. The Comelec would also need to ascertain that their voters lists are clean and constantly updated. For the 2010 elections, it was discovered that Comelec's voters lists have hundreds of centenarians (600 in Taguig alone), and the names of long-deceased voters were still on the lists.
 
 
 
 
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