Metro Manila, Philippines— Around 65.8 million voters, including 6.9 million newly registered ones, are expected to cast their ballots this May 9. CNN Philippines lists what the voting public should keep in mind on Election Day.
Polling precincts will open at 6 a.m. and will accommodate voters until 7 p.m. Should there still be voters in line by 7 p.m., they will all be accommodated as long as their distance from the precinct is within 30 meters.
The Commission on Elections says bringing a valid ID is not required but still encouraged, especially to address any possible issues concerning your identity or appearance in the Election Day Computerized Voters’ List (EDCVL).
After signing the EDCVL, the voter will receive their ballot which they must inspect for any shades or marks before leaving the electoral board desk.
Do: Mask up, observe minimum public health standards
Voters must wear face masks in their polling precincts. However, face shields are not required, especially with most areas in the country now under Alert Level 1.
Also not required on Election Day are COVID-19 vaccine cards nor negative RT-PCR or antigen test result. Should a voter in line exhibit COVID-like symptoms or get a temperature of 37.5°C and up, they may still cast their ballots in an isolation polling precinct.
Health protocols must also be strictly observed in precincts at all times, as both Comelec and government officials have frequently reminded.
Don’t: Wear masks, clothing with names and faces of candidates
While voters’ clothing may come in any color, they are prohibited from wearing anything that contains the name and/or face of any candidate as these may be perceived as campaigning.
“Mayo 8 pa lamang ay bawal na pong magkampanya ang ating mga partido politikal at mga kandidato,” Comelec Commissioner George Garcia said in a Palace briefing on May 4.
[Translation: By May 8, political parties and candidates are already prohibited from campaigning.]
Do: Prepare ‘kodigo’ to ensure quicker voting
Voters are encouraged to prepare a kodigo, or a list of selected candidates on a piece of paper to speed up the voting process.
Comelec estimates show voting lasts within three to five minutes for voters who already listed their bets beforehand, and up to 10 minutes for those who haven’t.
While smartphones aren’t prohibited in polling precincts, Garcia says using these gadgets is discouraged especially to avoid allegations of capturing one’s ballot.
Don’t: Take pictures of your ballot, selfies inside the precinct
Voters are prohibited from taking pictures of their ballots—an act considered an election offense. They can review voting receipts but like ballots, these cannot be photographed.
Garcia also discouraged voters, especially newly registered ones, from taking selfies inside precincts.
“Baka po magkagulo pa, ma-object ang pangalan ninyo, malagay pa kayo sa minutes of voting. Bandang huli makasuhan pa kayo ng election offense, isa hanggang anim na taong pagkakakulong po ‘yun,” he explained.
[Translation: This might cause a commotion, which could lead to your name getting objected and being placed in the minutes of voting. You could end up being charged with an election offense, which is punishable by one to six years of imprisonment.]
Don’t: Make unnecessary marks on your ballot
Voters are reminded to exercise caution in handling their ballots. That is, don’t write anything on them, rip them or let them get wet to avoid possible rejection by the vote-counting machine (VCM).
One is allowed to try feeding the ballot to the VCM for four times. Should the machine still reject the ballot, the teacher that is part of the electoral board will retrieve the ballot and the voter will be asked to exit the precinct.
“Ang atin pong bilang ng balota sa bawat presinto ay one is to one lamang. Ang ibig sabihin po, hindi po pupuwedeng sumobra iyong pinapadala po nating balota sa bawat presinto,” the Comelec official explained.
[Translation: Our ballot count per precinct is one is to one. This means we cannot send a precinct more ballots than it’s supposed to have.]
Those done with voting will be stained with indelible ink on their right forefinger nail before leaving the precinct.
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