FOR their convenience, senior citizens and persons with disability (PWD) should be included in the local absentee voting system.
This was according to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez as he filed House Bill House Bill No. 5019, amending the Republic Act 10380.
Alvarez said seniors and PWDs are experiencing difficulties during elections, which most of the time prevent them from exercising their rights to suffrage.
With these problems, Alvarez proposed that these two sectors should be allowed to vote under the local absentee voting system.
Absentee voting is meant to increase participation by citizens who are in situations, which prevent them to vote, like government officials and employees and members of the media.
Despite the Commission on Elections effort to put up accessible polling places exclusively for PWDs and senior citizens, many people still failed or were discouraged to vote because of their mobility limitations or their physical and health conditions.
“At present, there is no law granting PWDs and senior citizens the privilege to vote under local absentee voting,” Alvarez noted.
Alvarez said he wants to ensure that senior citizens and PWDs, who are unable to vote in their registered precincts during election day on account of their physical and health conditions can cast their votes as local absentee voters in places other than where they are registered, subject to the rules and regulations issued by the Comelec.
The bill seeks to amend Republic Act No. 10380, or “An Act Providing for Local Absentee Voting for Media” to extend the right to vote under the local absentee voting system to PWDs and senior citizens.
The new law shall be known as the “Expanded Voting Act of 2017.”
Implementation of the absentee voting system began through Executive Order No. 157, series of 1987, issued by the late Pres. Corazon Aquino, covering officers and employees of government who are away from their places of their registration by reasons of official functions on election day.
With the passage of RA 10380, the absentee voting system expanded its coverage to include members of the media and media practitioners, including their staff who are registered voters, and who, on election day, may not be able to vote due to the performance of their functions.