May 19, 2024

The Commission on Elections is looking to implement nationwide mall voting and early voting hours for vulnerable sectors during the May 2025 midterm elections.

This is to protect them from the extreme heat, Comelec Chairperson George Garcia said in an earlier interview.

“Come May 12 next year, if we feel this heat now, it will most likely be the same next year. The elderly and persons with disabilities may feel exhausted. It’s better if we allow them to vote early. Mall voting is another method so that the people cans have the option considering the hot weather. In malls, there is air-conditioning so the voting experience will be better, cooler, better environment,” he said.

Garcia, however, said those belonging to the vulnerable sector can still opt to vote on Election Day.

“That is just optional. If they don’t want to vote between 5 and 7 a.m. since they wake up late, that’s okay. They can still cast their votes,” he said.

He said the adoption of mall voting will be decided upon by the majority of the voters in affected barangays.

“There is a process. There will be consultation. If the majority of the residents refuse to transfer their polling precincts, then we won’t transfer them. But if the majority will prefer the transfer, then we will transfer them to malls,” Garcia said.

During the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, PWDs, senior citizens, and pregnant women in Naga City and Muntinlupa City were allowed to vote early, as part of the pilot testing of the Comelec.

Comelec also pilot tested mall voting in 10 shopping centers in the country, most of which were in Metro Manila in the last polls. – PNA