CORONAVIRUS disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients will be allowed to vote during the May 9, 2022 polls, in strict compliance with health and safety protocols, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Tuesday.
In the forum led by the House of Representatives' Committee on People's Participation, Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said symptomatic individuals on election day will be segregated in an isolated polling area.
"They will be allowed to cast their votes, but they will be separated from the general population," Jimenez said.
This way, they will be able to exercise their right of suffrage, because obviously, having Covid is not disqualifying, and at the same time, the rest of the voters will be kept safe," he added.
Jimenez gave assurances that such "strategy [will] work," saying the commission has tested the system during the Palawan plebiscite, which turned out "successful".
The number of voters allowed inside every voting precinct, meanwhile, will be limited from 10 to only one person, together with three members of the election board and one watcher.
"That is the most extreme that may happen. This is not final, and we are discussing this, so we want all voters to be able to finish voting at the earliest possible time; so we can accommodate more voters," said Jimenez.
Due to the restrictions in the number of people, voting hours may be extended from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. come election day.
Campaign rallies and other forms of election-related gatherings will likewise be regulated to ensure the safety of candidates and poll workers.
The Comelec had said it was also considering allowing hybrid campaigns, which include virtual and face-to-face events, for national and local candidates.