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Comelec mulls blockbuster 'early voting hours' for PWDs, vulnerable sectors in 2025

BUOYED by the success of the «early voting hour,» the Commission on Elections (Comelec) plans to implement the scheme in the midterm elections and Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) in 2025.

AUTOMATED BSKE Registered voters in Barangay Paliparan 3 in Dasmariñas City, Cavite, form a long line as they wait for their turn to insert their accomplished ballots into the automated machine during the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) in Paliparan Elementary School on Monday, Oct. 30 2023. Paliparan Elementary School in Barangay Paliparan is one of two pilot areas in Dasmariñas where vote counting machines were tried in actual elections to test its reliability, the other one being the Zone 1 Elementary School. PHOTO BY DENNIS ABRINA

«Our early voting hours [pilot implementation] is a 'blockbuster,'» said Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia of the project in Muntinlupa City that was participated in by 51,551 senior citizens and 2,179 persons with disability (PWDs). It was also pilot tested in Naga City.

The early voting hours were meant to make voting easy and convenient for senior citizens, PWDs, pregnant women and other vulnerable sectors of society.

The early voting hours are from 5 a.,m… to 7 a.m. A companion will also be allowed to vote.

Those who failed to vote during the early voting hours will go through the regular «accessible polling places (APP),» which is also exclusive to the vulnerable sector on the ground floor of the voting centers.

Garcia said that the Comelec wanted to see what adjustments needed to be done when it is implemented in the next elections.

«We wanted to see that they were able to vote with ease and comfort because if it isn't, our early voting hours are a failure. But what we saw earlier were their smiles, therefore we have accomplished what we wanted for our vulnerable sector,» he said.

Garcia said that they have yet to receive the final report on the outcome of early voting hours but said he was happy with the results in Muntinlupa City.

"[As I have said] if this is successful, by the next election, 2025 national and local polls and BSKE, we will implement the early voting nationwide," added Garcioa.