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Longer voting hours, smaller precincts for 2022 polls eyed

THE Commission on Elections is leaning towards longer voting hours and smaller precinct sizes in the upcoming 2022 elections amid the continuing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said they are eyeing longer election hours rather than conducting the elections over several days.

“Medyo wary kami sa two to three days of election. The Comelec is actually tending towards longer election hours. Nakikita po natin sa ibang bansa, especially ‘yung malalaking elections, they do have elections that last for up to 12 hours,” Jimenez said.

“As far as the two to three days of elections, as you pointed out, there’s been a lot of concerns, a lot of worry of what happens at night,” he added.

The Comelec official said reducing the number of voters in polling precincts is also part of the plan but it would require the identification of additional venues for voting.

“That will have an impact on the physical preparations naman because kakailanganin natin ng mas malaking espasyo at mas malalaking lugar. Siyempre dadami rin ang ating personnel,” he said.

Jimenez also said the concept of early voting is likewise a welcome option for vulnerable sectors like the senior citizens and persons with disabilities, subject to the passage of an enabling law.

Last September, a Comelec official said the poll body is mulling a two- to three-day schedule for the 2022 polls because of the pandemic.