Comelec eyes prolonged voting period

By , on March 19, 2016


A woman casts her votes as Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista looks on during mock elections held at Bacoor National High School in Bacoor, Cavite. (PNA photo by Avito Dalan)
A woman casts her votes as Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista looks on during mock elections held at Bacoor National High School in Bacoor, Cavite. (PNA photo by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – After they were required to issue vote receipts, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is thinking of prolonging the voting period and also to start early the voting process on May 9, Election Day.

Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista said they were looking at the possibility of starting the voting one hour earlier, or from 7 a.m. to 6 a.m. and to hold the conduct of the polls for at least 12 hours, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“We are looking into the possibility of earlier start of voting, probably 6 a.m.,” he said in an interview.

Bautista noted that they were planning to adjust the voting period, which they could also extend on May 9, if needed.

“We want to take advantage of light. As much as possible, we want voting to be finished while there is still daylight,” he said.

The Comelec has accepted the Supreme Court (SC) and are now focusing in the preparations for the printing of voter receipts, which does not have any security features.

With this, Bautista said that they would start the procurement of the almost 93,000 boxes that will serve as receptacle of the voter receipts and some 100,000 round edge scissors, which will be used to cut the voter receipts.

The commission has allocated Php 300 budget for every receptacle while the budget allocation per scissor is Php 12.

On the other hand, the poll body chief noted that they have included in the specifications of the thermal papers they are already bidding out the need to have an “early warning” mechanism.

“We required that towards the end part of the paper roll, there should be a red mark. So when the Board of Election Inspector (BEI) sees it, they can already replace the roll, which will minimize incidents of paper jams,” he said.

The Comelec had already invited interested suppliers for the less than 1.1 million thermal paper rolls with a budget allocation of Php 85.8 million or Php 78 per roll.

Meanwhile, Bautista said they were also looking at cutting down the screen time of the on-screen verification from its current setting of 15 seconds.

“During the oral arguments, it was pointed that the on-screen verification is not necessary. That’s why we are looking at reducing the 15 seconds. We cannot remove that feature anymore since it would necessitate a new source code. But we can certainly shorten it,” he said.