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The upcoming May 9 elections will be the first time the country will be voting in a pandemic.
Compared to the previous elections, this year, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) had to come up with a slightly different voting process and consider the health and safety of the voters, election officers, and the general public.
Standard health and safety protocols will be required on election day, including temperature checks, physical distancing, wearing of face masks at all times, and frequent disinfection of the hands as well as frequently touched surfaces.
According to COMELEC guidelines, voters who will register a body temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius and above will be checked by a medical officer. If they turn out to have a fever, they will be redirected to an isolation polling place (IPP), where they can cast their ballots.
Meanwhile, vulnerable people such as persons with disabilities, senior citizens, and heavily pregnant voters, can cast their ballots in emergency accessible polling places (EAPP) on election day, but they should also have access to IPPs if they have a fever.
Ready? Here are a few more reminders for a safe election day:
Wear your facemask at all times.
Maintain a safe distance of at least one meter apart.
Frequently wash and disinfect hands.
Use only the official marker given by the Board of Election Inspectors.
You can bring a list of candidates you will vote, after carefully examining each candidate’s background and platform before the election day.
Read your ballot thoroughly to avoid making mistakes.
Come early to the polling center. Expect long lines from 6am to 7pm due to additional COVID-19 safety measures.
Depart from the polling center as soon as you’ve finished casting your ballot to make way for other voters.
Do not over-vote. Voting for more than the maximum number of candidates allowed would invalidate your vote.
Do not fold, crumple, or tear the ballots.
Do not take pictures of the accomplished or filled-out ballots.
Do not keep or take pictures of voters’ receipts.
Do not participate in vote-buying or vote-selling.
You cannot vote in the wrong precinct. To check your precinct, go to Comelec’s latest Precinct Finder or go to your local COMELEC office.
That’s it! The May 9 elections will determine the next leader who will usher us through this pandemic. So do your part, and research your candidates’ background and platforms.
Have a virus-free voting day!
Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings.
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