Feb 132013

For the first time, media personnel who will not be able to vote on election day due to work will now be allowed to cast their votes ahead of the elections.

In Resolution 9637, the Commission on Elections said media practitioners, even the technical and support staff who are actively engaged in information gathering and news reporting, are now entitled to avail of the local absentee voting.

The resolution was promulgated on February 13.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said they will be coming out with application forms soon, adding that they expect between 10,000 to 20,000 media workers to avail of the local absentee voting.

Among those who can avail of the local absentee voting are print journalists, television journalists, photojournalists, online journalists, radio journalists, documentary makers and those in television/ radio production who are duly registered voters.

For the May 13 polls, the local absentee voters can only vote for 12 senators and  a party-list group. 

In the past, only government officials and employees, members of the National Police and Armed Forces who are temporarily assigned to perform election duties in places where they are not registered voters, are allowed to participate in local absentee voting.

The voting will be held from April 28, 29, 30 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Members of the media can vote at the Comelec office where they filed their applications while for the others, the AFP and PNP, head of office, supervisor or commander should designate the place of voting not later than April 15.

For subsequent elections, local absentee voters shall vote not earlier than 15 days before elections but not later than 12 days before elections.

Filing of application

Members of the media who want to avail of the local absentee voting need to individually file their applications not later than March 31 before the provincial election supervisor, regional election director and city election officer of the place where they will be assigned.

Others can file their application forms before their heads of offices, supervisors or commanders.

The Committee for Local Absentee Voting, which shall be headed by Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., will check if the applicants are indeed registered voters by comparing names with the National List of Registered Voters.

The CLAV will prepare the list of approved applicants.

Those who are not a registered or whose registration records have been deactivated, whose application was filed out of time, whose application is not sworn by any person authorized to administer oath, whose application is only a photo or facsimile will be disapproved.

The applicant also needs to secure a certification from his media entity that he will not be able to cast his vote on the day of the elections.

Voters who will not be ale to vote on the scheduled date for absentee voting may cast their votes in their respective polling places on election day.

The manner of voting will be manual.

Those who will cast their vote both during the absentee voting schedule and Election Day will be charged with an election offense.

The ballots of absentee voters will be sent to the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila. These will be counted at 7 p.m. on Election Day. The result will be added to the result of the automated elections. — RSJ, GMA News

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