Comelec eyeing more barangay courts, halls as voting centers in 2022

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 23) — The Commission on Elections said it wants to look beyond classrooms as voting precincts in the May 2022 polls.

Comelec director for operations Teopisto Elnas, Jr. bared that the poll body is looking to use more alternative venues to better protect voters from COVID-19 during election day.

“May directive na [There is already a directive] to our election officers for the decongestion of our voting centers catering to two to three or more barangays,” he told members of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System.

“We are looking at ‘yung mga covered court ng barangay. Ongoing ‘yung paglilipat kung may malilipatan [The process of transferring is ongoing, if they can find better locations].”

READ: Lawmakers fear voting day could become superspreader event

He added that the main criteria for choosing new venues, such as courts and multi-purpose halls, are those which are “more convenient, more spacious and compliant” with minimum health standards set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Public school classrooms are mostly used as voting centers nationwide.

As a rule, there must be proper ventilation and adequate physical distancing in any area where people will congregate. All should be wearing face masks to reduce the risk of triggering superspreader events.

The Comelec’s rental of 10,000 additional vote counting machines has also been delayed, putting into question the plan to reduce the number of voters per precinct to 800 from 1,000 in the 2019 elections.

RELATED: Comelec to allot isolation polling areas, COVID-19 testing for voters with symptoms