Comelec eyes start of voting period at 6 am

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday, March 23, said it is considering to move the start of the voting period at 6 am after the Supreme Court (SC) ordered the poll body to print voting receipts.

The proposal is for the voting period to run from 6 am to 5 pm, Comelec Commissioner Christian Lim said during a joint congressional hearing on Wednesday.

“We are doing this in order to take advantage of daylight,” Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista added.

“As much as possible, we would like to start and finish while there is still daylight,” Bautista said.

This comes as a recent SC order, which directed the Comelec to issue voting receipts, requires a longer voting period.

'Most transparent elections' promised

The Comelec earlier warned that the May 9 elections could spill over the wee hours of the next day, May 10, if the poll body issues voting receipts. (READ: 20-hour elections feared due to voting receipts)

During the hearing on the automated elections, Lim said the new voting hours is in the Comelec’s proposed general instructions for the elections.

Bautista explained that the SC ruling on voting receipts “dealt a curve ball” to the poll body.

Still, Bautista said, the Comelec vows to make the May 9 polls “the most transparent elections in Philippine history.”

The Comelec earlier set the voting period from 7 am to 5 pm on May 9.

In previous elections, the voting period was from 7 am to 7 pm.

Bautista explained that “as much as possible, we would like to encourage our voters to vote early.” – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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