2022 VOTER GUIDE: ARE YOU READY TO VOTE?
May 9 will not be your typical election day. Due to COVID-19 restrictions and protocols, this coming 2022 National and Local Elections will be a tad bit different compared to the past. So, to help you our dear katambays to be more familiar with the new process, we listed some of the things that you can expect as well as the steps to voting.
The youth covers 56% out of the total 65.7 million voters in the country with ages between 18 to 41 years old according to recent Commission on Elections (COMELEC) data. With a total number of 37,015,901, many of these voters will be exercising their right to suffrage for the very first time. And while voting can be quite daunting considering what’s at stake, all you really need to do is shade the oval appearing right beside the candidate you wish to vote for.
But before May 9 comes, here are some things you need to prepare:
KNOW YOUR CANDIDATES
Before you cast your votes make sure that you’ve done your research. Be sure to study all their policies and platforms. You can do this by watching debates or interviews to get a grasp of the character of each candidate. Keep in mind that the person that you are voting for on May 9 might just be the person that will lead our country for the next six years.
KNOW WHERE TO VOTE
This isn’t new for those who’ve voted in the past. But for first-time voters, each person is assigned to a specific precinct the moment you registered. To check your assignment, you can access COMELEC’s Precinct Finder or personally find your assigned post on your local precinct’s list. You don’t want to go on a wild goose chase on election day, after all, voting is only from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm.
PREPARE EVERYTHING YOU NEED
Come election day, make sure you have a list of names of your preferred candidates—you don’t want to make any unnecessary mistakes on your ballot. Also, you should avoid overvoting, or else this would invalidate your vote. Don’t forget to bring your COVID-19 essentials like masks, alcohol, and if needed a face shield. Take note, we are still in a pandemic.
EXTENDED VOTING HOURS!
The voting period will start at 6:00 am until 7:00 pm, an hour longer than the election hours three years ago which was only until 6:00 pm. However, according to Commissioner Marlon Casquejo if there are still voters by 7:00 pm they will still continue the voting process.
“We do not expect that it will end at 7 o’clock, it will continue until such time all those inside or within 30 meters will be catered. We have procedures on that,” he added.
Although vaccination cards will not be required on election day, the COMELEC is adamant that health and safety protocols must be observed. These protocols will include temperature checks, submission of COVID-19 health declaration forms, physical distancing, hand sanitation before entry into the polling place, and wearing of face masks. For areas under alert level 4 and above face shields will be mandatory.
SEPARATE ROOMS FOR VOTERS WITH FEVER AND THE VULNERABLE SECTOR
Medical officers will be on standby to check voters who will register a body temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius and above. And if confirmed that such voters have a fever, they will be placed in a so-called isolation polling place (IPP) where they can cast their ballots.
While persons with disabilities, senior citizens, and heavily pregnant voters will be redirected to an emergency accessible polling place (EAPP) where they can cast their votes.
YOUR STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO VOTING
Step 1: Have your temperature checked before entering the voting center.
Step 2: Proceed to the Voters’ Assistance Desk (VAD) to secure your precinct and sequence numbers and assigned room or clustered precinct.
Step 3: Go to your assigned room and introduce yourself to the Electoral Board by stating your name, precinct, and sequence numbers.
Step 4: Get your ballot, ballot secrecy folder, and marking pen and fill out the ballot at the voting area.
Step 5: Accomplish the ballot by fully shading the oval appearing before the name of the candidate you wish to vote for. Do not overvote.
Step 6: Feed the ballot into the Vote Counting Machine (VCM).
Step 7: Check your voter’s receipt and then deposit it in the receptacle.
Step 8: Have your right forefinger nail stained with indelible ink.
We hope this guide helps everyone, especially our katambays, when they exercise their right to vote on May 9. Go out and vote!
Cover art by Angelica Flores Juan