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Elderly, PWDs seek voter-friendly precincts

SEVERAL elderly voters and persons with disabilities (PWDs) were looking for convenient polling precincts during the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Election (BSKE) on Monday.

While the Commission on Elections (Comelec) allotted an earlier voting time (5 a.m. to 7 a.m.) for senior citizens, PWDs and pregnant women, some said that casting their ballots was challenging.

«For us senior citizens, it was easy. We had no problem. But there were [voters] in their wheelchairs, and those using support to walk that really struggled going up to the fourth floor,» Crespo Bingo Navarro, a 67-year-old voter from Barangay 733 in Manila, said.

The Comelec said around 11.6 million senior citizens were expected to vote this year.

«I'm fine so far. But I felt sorry for other PWDs [whose physical conditions] were worse off — those in their wheelchairs. Hopefully, next time, there will be precincts for them down here,» said voter Irma Dayap, 70, from Barangay 731, Manila.

Other than the problem of inconvenience, PWDs and senior citizens voters said the manual voting system went smoothly, except for those who have difficulty writing.

Mall voting

To ease overcrowding, the Comelec has launched, for this year's polls, mall voting precincts located in 11 pilot malls across the country.

«We are very thankful for the SM management. You know what, our fellows have cast their votes very well. The only complaint we're hearing is that it's very cold here, unlike those in schools we have been to; you can really see their sweat. Our fellows have really good experience in mall voting. We are hoping that everybody will experience this soon, too,» Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia said.

Voters from Barangay 668 Manila who cast their ballots at Robinsons-Manila said mall voting went well and smoothly.

A 22-year-old voter said, «It's more comfortable in the mall; it has wide space, and it's more organized than [it is] in schools.»

Meanwhile, first-time voter Andrea Cabading said that while mall voting has been convenient for her, she struggled in manually writing the names of the candidates; thus, she said she would prefer automated voting next time.