By ATTY. GREGORIO LARRAZABAL
With election day about three weeks away, I think it’s best to dedicate the next three columns to discuss what is supposed to happen on May 13, 2019. To help the voters be informed. To answer some of the usual questions that are asked when they vote.
Q: What are the voting hours on May 13, 2019?
A: Voting hours for the May 13 elections are from 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., as provided for in Sec. 48 of Comelec Resolution No. 10460.
Q: Can you still vote even after 6:00 p.m.?
A: Yes. Par. 2 of Sec. 48 of Comelec Resolution No. 10460, provides:
“Voters who have not yet cast their vote but are within thirty (30) meters from the polling place by 6:00 p.m. of Election Day shall still be allowed to cast their votes. The poll clerk shall promptly prepare a complete list in duplicate containing the names of said voters numbered consecutively. The voters listed shall be called to vote by the poll clerk by announcing near the door of the polling place, in a tone loud enough to be heard throughout the polling place, each name three (3) times in the order they are listed. Any voter who is not present or does to respond when called shall no longer be allowed to vote. The said list shall be attached to the Minutes of Voting.”
Q: Is it possible that even if a voter has his name listed at 6 p.m., he will still be unable
A: Yes. If he/she does not respond when his/her name is called, he/she loses the opportunity to vote. That’s why it’s important that after you have your name listed by 6:00 p.m., you stay in the polling place. To be sure you can still vote.
Q: What is the first thing you should do when the chairman of the Electoral Board (formerly called the BEI) hands you your ballot?
A: Make sure there are:
1. No markings or other writings on the ballot.
2. No smudges on the sides of the ballot (timing marks).
3. No ovals that appears to have been shaded.
4. No tears on the ballot.
5. No creases that may result from the ballot being folded.
6. The ballot is not wet or dirty.
Please take note that the voters have to check these things because it might cause the ballot to be rejected, or the voter may be casting a vote for a candidate he/she did not intend to vote for. Please check for these things in front of the chairman of the Electoral Board when you receive the ballot; immediately ask for the ballot to be replaced if you find any of the above present on your ballot.
Q: What if I make a mistake in shading? Can I redo it?
A: No. That’s why it’s important to have a list or sample ballot with you which you can use as a guide to help you in casting your vote.
Q: How much time do I have to fill up my ballot?
A: Normally a voter takes about three (3) minutes to fill up his/her ballot from the time he/she sits down and stars to vote. There is no actual time limit prescribed for a voter to fill up the ballot. However, if there appears to be an attempt to delay the proceedings in the polling place, the watchers can point this out, or the Electoral Board themselves can take appropriate steps to address
Q: Am I allowed to bring a sample ballot?
A: Sample ballots are allowed to be brought inside by the voter. A sample ballot can be a written guide or a printed sample ballot. What is important is that there is no campaign/electoral propaganda on the sample ballot. For example, the words “Vote for” on the sample ballot.
Q: Can I wear a campaign shirt to the precinct?
A: A big NO. Wearing of a campaign shirt is tantamount to campaigning, and campaigning is prohibited on Election Day.
Next week we’ll discuss the procedure in polling places where the Voter Registration Verification System (VRVS) will be used. As a background, the VRVS is where voters have to use their thumbmark as an identification in order to cast their vote. There will be several provinces where the VRVS will be used in the May 13, 2019, automated elections, including three cities in NCR – Caloocan City, Manila City, and Quezon City.