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Comelec supports early voting for disadvantaged groups

The House of Representatives motion to permit early voting for certain professions and the most vulnerable population received approval from the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

According to Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco, the bill would also permit healthcare professionals and attorneys who represent candidates in elections to cast their ballots before to the designated polling places.

The Early Voting Bill for our Vulnerable Sectors, especially for Persons with Disabilities, Senior Citizens, and Pregnant Women, has the unwavering backing of Comelec. In a message to reporters on Monday night, he added, “This is a huge boost to them so that they can no longer keep up with most of our compatriots in voting.

“As Chairman George Erwin Garcia mentioned, the Comelec is now carefully studying the Early Voting Hours for Senior Citizens and other parts of the vulnerable sectors, in case the bill is not passed by October 30, 2023, Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE),” he continued.

In addition, the poll official highlighted that allowing healthcare workers and lawyers of candidates standing in the election to vote early would benefit them as they are both doing their obligations throughout the election.

“Our legislators will help this sector so that more people can vote,” he said. “If they include the healthcare workers who cannot leave their jobs out of duty.”

This would also help so that individuals with obligations on election day can still cast their votes on a different day, said Laudiangco, who noted that most lawyers also counsel the candidates in various regions of the nation.

On the other hand, he asserted that the Commission would require more funding if such a bill were to succeed in covering costs such as increased honoraria for instructors or those who would serve on Electoral Boards (EB).

“The further hiring and instruction of more educators, other government employees, and regular individuals to act as election boards. The Comelec spokeswoman stated that because the election is taking place during the student’s study period, it will impact the instructors’ ability to perform their election-related obligations.

Due to more days and a longer duration of service in early voting, there will be additional acceptable honoraria. He continued if such a bill is passed into law, adequate funding should be set aside to coordinate the implementation better.

On its third and final reading, the House of Representatives on Monday adopted the legislation allowing eligible senior citizens, people with disabilities (PWDs), lawyers, and human resources for health to vote early in national and municipal elections.

House Bill 7576, a synthesis of 15 individual bills introduced in the current 19th Congress, received 259 yes votes during the plenary session.

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