Loitering and gossiping at voting precincts on election day will be prohibited in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection in the 2022 elections, according to a Commission on Elections (Comelec) official on Monday.
“Our experience before is that, before voting, people would gather, engage in gossip and tell stories inside the voting center. This time, we will not allow it to happen,” Comelec Director Teopisto Elnas Jr., speaking in a mix of English and Filipino, said during a forum organized by the poll watchdog National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel).
“We will discourage that experience of people loitering there, starting with one, two until there’s a lot of them. We will have a problem with crowd control within the voting center,” he added.
Elnas advised voters to vote as soon as possible in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“This time, once they enter they will go directly to the voters’ assistance desk if they don’t their precinct. Once they’ve been informed, they will be directed to proceed to their respective polling place,” he said.
Voters will be directed to leave the polling place after casting their ballot.
Elnas stated that either the police or the military would be called in to handle crowd control on election day to ensure that minimum health standards are met.
Meanwhile, Elnas said that voters who have a high body temperature during the required check will be directed to vote at an isolation polling place (IPP) set up inside the voting center.
“Just in case the temperature goes beyond 37.5 [degrees] centigrade, the voter would be brought to the IPP,” he said. “He will not be asked to leave right away because we will be depriving him of his right to cast his vote.”
According to Elnas, once they have finished voting, they will be turned over to health officials.
On election day, May 9, 2022, other health protocols will be in place.
Elnas stated that the Comelec would limit the capacity of each polling location to 10 to 15 people at a time.
If there is enough space, the Comelec may also set up a holding area in the voting precincts where voters can wait for their turn.
Loitering, gossiping banned at voting precincts on election day 2022 – Comelec official|Inquirer.net