According to our constitution, the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines – Article II, our country (the Philippines) is a democratic and republican state. The sovereignty resides in the people and all the government authority will come from them. After six long years, here we go again with the election. Despite the pandemic, on May 9, 2022, roughly 67.5 million Filipinos are expected to cast their votes for the candidates for the national and local posts. Amidst the pandemic, what would be the changes in voting? Is there any?
For the 2022 National and Local Elections, out of 110 million population, roughly 67.5 million are eligible and registered Filipino voters, according to the official tally of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). Moreover, there are an estimated 1.8 million overseas Filipino workers who are also registered voters for this year’s election from North and Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia and the Pacific region.
Many have changed, but what are we going to expect this year? For sure many thoughts have been bugging you lately. Just to give a piece of advice here is the voting guide you should know on the upcoming election in the Philippines.
On May 9, the election day will be held from 6 am-7 pm. The standard health safety protocols are required upon entering each place where the voting will be held to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
This year’s election was slightly different compared to the previous elections. Considering the health and safety of the Electoral Board, poll volunteers, the people near the vicinities of the voting center, and especially the voters, a slightly different process on voting has been formulated.
Here are the Covid-19 Rules for Voters per the COMELEC:
Wear a facemask at all times
Covid-19 is everywhere, it is becoming part of our daily lives ever since it came out 2 years ago. Wearing a facemask all the time we’re out is very essential for our safety. Perhaps, wearing a facemask was also part of our daily routine. And since we are expecting a crowd in the areas where the polling will take place, wearing a facemask all the time could help to lessen the spread of the disease.
Maintain the safe distancing of at least 1 meter apart
Because Covid-19 can spread when you have close contact with other people, it is better to distance yourself for everyone’s safety.
Frequently wash and disinfect hands.
Always bring alcohol or sanitizers to sanitize your hands after holding something. We didn’t know who used this thing first, and just to be sure, as health comes first, always have alcohol on hand.
To guide you this coming 2022 Philippine Election, here are the guidelines on the step-by-step voting process according to COMELEC:
Step-by-step Voting Process in the Philippines
Step 1 - Temperature check before entry to the voting center.
Before entering the voting center, the voters must have their temperature checked. For the safety of everyone in the center already, upon entering it is required to check your temperature, to be able to prevent the possible spread of the Covid-19. To inform you, that fever is one of the most common symptoms of Covid-19.
Step 2 – Proceed to the Voters’ Assistance Desk to know the precinct, queue number, and room.
Don’t be shy to ask. Even though you’ve already known your precinct number way back from the election six years ago, there probably might have some changes, as we are in a different era now. In every voting center, there’s a Voters Assistance Desk (VAD) that can help you, to secure your precinct and the assigned room.
Step 3 – Proceed to the assigned room and present yourself to the Electoral Board.
After you secure your precinct, go to your designated room. You will be asked for your name, precinct, and sequence numbers by the Electoral Board. The electoral board for those first-time voters, they are the board usually appointed by the local authorities who are in charge and control of election and voting procedures.
Step 4 – Get the ballot, ballot secrecy folder, and the marking pen and fill out the ballot.
Before you seat on your designated seat or in an available seat, make sure that you have all the materials mentioned and get ready to proceed on voting.
Step 5 – Accomplish ballot fully shading ovals for candidates.
Do not over-vote. After securing and having all the materials needed, voters can now proceed to vote. While voting, ensure to fully shade the oval that appears before the name of the candidate that you are into. As an eligible voter, you should be responsible enough and be mindful, keep in mind to not over-vote. Always in mind the numbers you should shade. For sure, there’s an instruction on the ballot that tells how many candidates you should vote for. If voters vote for more than the maximum number of candidates only allowed, there’s a big chance that the vote will be invalidated.
Insert ballot into Vote Counting Machine (VCM). The voters will be asked to insert his or her ballot into the Vote Counting Machine, basically for the machine to be able to count their vote.
Check the voter receipt and drop it in the receptacle. After feeding the ballot into the VCM, there will be a receipt. Take time to check your voter’s receipt, after checking deposit it in the receptacle. Why is it important to check voters’ receipts? It is to be sure that your vote was accurately and well delivered.
Have right forefinger nail stained with indelible ink. The last stage of voting is to have the voter’s right forefinger nail to be stained with indelible ink. It became a trend when on the day of the election, some people are proudly posting their marks on social media.
Aside from the voting guide amidst the pandemic that we should keep in mind, we should also remember the other reminders from the previous elections that can still be applied this year. Despite the changes caused by the pandemic, the important reminders include the following:
- It is strictly prohibited to fold, crumple, or tear the ballots provided to the voters.
- On the voting day, the voter should use only the provided marker given by the Board of Election.
- As a responsible voter, you should not take a picture of your accomplished or filled-out ballots.
- Your receipt should be a drop in the receptacle and not keep it in you and for you to take pictures.
- And most importantly, vote wisely!
Be a responsible voter and a responsible Filipino citizen. Let’s choose the candidate who we know can do a lot for the country. On this 2022 Philippine Election, stay safe, follow the health and safety protocols, and again, vote wisely!
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