Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the process of voting will be markedly different from past elections when you exercise your right to vote on May 9.
Election season is here once again. Whether you go on social media or outside, you would be hard-pressed to not come across at least one piece of campaign material. And the 2022 election season in the Philippines is in full swing as today, February 8, 2022, marks the official start of campaigning for national positions (president, VP, senate, and party-list). It lasts until May 7, two days before voting on May 9. Campaigning for local positions (such as mayor, congressman, etc.) meanwhile, will begin on March 25 with the same end date.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that this upcoming elections will be the most consequential in years. Whoever is elected as our next leaders will help lead the country into a post-COVID-19 future. Given everything that has happened in the past two years and then some, your choice on May 9 will be important. Most of the discussion has centered on the candidates, their platforms, and how campaigning is going to change due to COVID-19. But change has also come to how the actual process of voting will be like during the 2022 elections.
With over 65.7 million registered voters for the 2022 elections, including millions of first-time voters, the process will be different and new for many. In accordance with COVID-19 safety rules and regulations, COMELEC unveiled a set of guidelines and steps for how voting will be done on election day. Here’s what you can expect when you head to the polls on May 9, 2022.
HEALTH AND SAFETY RULES
First, you must wear your face mask when entering your local voting site. Don’t forget to bring a government issued ID and a pen with you just in case they ask for one. No face mask, no voting. Physical distancing will be implemented at all times. Next, you have to go through a health screening procedure where they check your temperature and other symptoms for COVID-19. If flagged, no need to worry as you will be cordoned off to an isolated voting place where you will still be able to vote. Everyone else will proceed to the Voter’s Assistant Desk (VAD) to secure your precinct and sequence numbers and assigned room or clustered precinct for the voting.
IN THE VOTING ROOM
Once in your assigned voting area, say your name, precinct and sequence numbers to the COMELEC officials to get your ballot, ballot secrecy folder, and marking pen. COMELEC staff will be on-hand to disinfect the marking pen after every use. When voting, make sure to completely shade the oval appearing before the name of the candidate you want to vote for. Do not over or under shade. Once completed, feed your ballot to the Vote Counting Machine (VCM). Make sure to check your voter’s receipt to make sure your vote got counted and that it matches to who you voted for. Then deposit it in the receptacle. Finally, have your forefinger nail blotted with the indelible ink (the purple ink) and then you’re done. You just now have voted in the 2022 elections.
Rember that no photos or videos are allowed to be taken inside the voting area. So, save that “I voted” selfie once your done and out. According to COMELEC, when they held their mock elections in 2022, the actual voting took around 5 minutes while the whole process from start to finish reached around 30 minutes. But with tens of millions of voters voting on the same day, it’s best not to procrastinate. Voting time begins on 6:00 AM and ends on 7:00 PM. If you can go early, then do so because you may never know what could happen. COMELEC also suggests that you vote during off-peak hours, which is 10 AM – 3 PM. Meanwhile, here are guides for local absentee voting and overseas voting if you are applicable for either.