SENATOR Imee Marcos has emphasized that thousands of vulnerable citizens may be unable to vote in the 2022 elections unless a more socially sensitive and convenient voting system for them is put in place.
“Let’s not discriminate against senior citizens, pregnant women, persons with disability (PWDs), and indigenous peoples (IPs) who should be given the option to mail in their votes,” Marcos asserted, in filing Senate Bill 1870, or the Voting By Mail Act.
“The risk of their being disenfranchised is high due to their state of health and relative distance from polling precincts, especially if the Covid-19 pandemic persists,” Marcos said.
“We can’t continue to turn a blind eye to the difficulties they always go through during elections,” Marcos added.
Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on electoral reforms, downplayed fears that voting by mail was less secure than via an electronic system, citing that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have cast their votes through the postal system in past elections.
“Actually, mail-in voting won’t be anything new in our laws since it’s been done before by our seafarers and OFWs in Italy and other countries,” Marcos said.
“Pilot tests will be conducted to check the system on the scale of domestic elections, Marcos assured.
During recent Senate hearings, the Commission on Elections supported mail-in voting, while the Philippine Postal System expressed confidence in handling it.
“The logistical challenges of voting by mail should not deter us from pushing our democratic processes forward,” Marcos asserted.
“We can’t be paralyzed by the same fear that we had when computerized elections were proposed for 2010,” Marcos added, citing that the highly technical nature of Smartmatic’s electronic voting system was understood mainly by IT experts but still puzzles the general public.