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Mall voting sees high turnout, broader implementation eyed for midterm polls — Comelec

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s first-ever mall voting initiative saw a high turnout during the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, the poll body said Monday. 

The initiative aims to enhance the convenience and accessibility of voting for Filipinos, particularly the vulnerable sectors. 

The pilot testing of mall voting, held in 11 shopping centers across the country, drew a significant number of voters, Commission on Elections spokesperson Rex Laudiangco said in an interview with state broadcaster People’s Television.

Laudiangco said the Comelec plans to expand the mall voting initiative in the 2025 midterm elections. 

“We’ll conduct it on a broader scale with the help of our partner malls because this initiative is at no cost to Comelec and to the government. This is funded entirely by our partner malls,” he said in Filipino.

The initiative was conducted in collaboration with major mall chains SM and Robinsons. 

In a release, watchdog Legal Network for Truthful Elections said that persons with disabilities, senior citizens and pregnant women availed of early voting hours and mall voting. 

It noted that the voting procedure was generally smooth in many participating malls. Its watchers also reported that the majority of the precincts were located on upper floors. 

Filipinos flocked to polling centers to choose leaders responsible for delivering basic public services for the first time in five years. Over 672,000 seats are up for grabs in the long-delayed elections.