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Social distancing, holding rooms, and other anti-COVID measures: Comelec simulates how voting will run amid the pandemic

By AYIE LICSI Published Oct 23, 2021 12:34 pm

What will voting be like in the new normal?

The Commission on Election held a voting simulation on Oct. 23, Saturday, in San Juan City to show the public how the 2022 elections will run amid the pandemic.

There'll be some changes to the way we vote next year with the health protocols imposed to keep voters safe from COVID-19.

Upon arrival at the voting centers, voters are required to wear face masks and face shields, and will have their body temperature checked. Those with temperatures higher than 37.5 degrees and those showing COVID-19 symptoms will still be allowed to enter, and they will be directed to a special isolation polling place where they'll cast their votes.

The next step will be to go to the Voter's Assistance Desk, which will help you find the precinct you'll be voting in. There will be different VADs for different barangays with each desk installed with plastic barriers.

Persons with disabilities, pregnant women, and senior citizens will be led to an Emergency Accessible Polling Place near the VADs so they won't have to walk far.

Once regular voters find their voting room, they will be directed to a holding room as Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo says only five people will be allowed in a standard-size classroom.

in the voting room, members of the electoral board will sit behind plastic barriers and will be wearing gloves. On their desks are sanitation supplies and the Election Day Computerized Voting List to verify the identity of voters.

Meanwhile, voters will be seated at spaced out tables to comply with social distancing measures. According to Jimenez, waiting time will take around 30 to 40 minutes.

He also showed the dummy ballot used in the simulation activity which contained made-up names.

"Itong simulation na ito is not a simulation of the voting system. It’s a simulation of the process, yung ating operational process," he said.

Over 4,000 test voters participated in the voting simulation held at San Juan Elementary School. The dry run was held to help Comelec streamline the overall voting experience for the upcoming 2022 national elections.