Voting hours likely to be extended by 2 to 3 hours: Comelec

Commission on Elections (Comelec) official said Monday that voting hours for the 2022 elections would likely to be extended by two to three hours.

“The direction we are going is to hold it in a day with extended voting hours. That is almost sure,” said Comelec Commissioner Antonio Kho Jr. at 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.”

Teachers serve as Board of Election Inspectors during elections in the Philippines.

“Most probably, there will be additional two or three hours,” Kho also said.

However, Kho said extending the election for another day would be unlikely because the election laws prohibit it.

“We might need Congress [to amend the law] for that. Kung gawin kasi natin tapos may mag-kwestiyon sa Supreme Court, patay na lahat,” he pointed out.

(If we do extended voting days and the election is questioned before the Supreme Court, everything will be for nothing.)

Voting hours likely to be extended by 2 to 3 hours: Comelec

Comelec increased the number of precincts for the 2022 elections, from 84,000 in 2019 to 110,000 for next year so social distancing would be observed.

Comelec is considering buying 10,000 more Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) for the 2022 polls, Kho said.

“We have 97,000 VCMs, 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 VCMs to comply with the 800 per precinct ratio,” Kho said.

The commission targets to have 7 million new registered but the number of registrants is only 2.8 million as of April 30. September 30 is the deadline for voter registration.

According to Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez, the voter registration period will not be extended even if it is suspended in areas under strict community status.

“Unfortunately, mukhang hindi na siya puwedeng i-extend because the day after the close of registration [is] filing of COC (certificates of candidacy), which means we have to start preparing for election day documents na,” said Jimenez.

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