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Comelec targets 5-m mall voters

As many as five-million voters  may be   allowed to vote at accredited shopping malls, Elections Chairman Andres Bautista said   on Tuesday.

“Voters to the malls? Our estimate is from two million to five million voters, but one good thing is that  moving our voters to the malls would decongest the existing  election precincts in public schools,” Bautista said in a press conference.

Commission on Elections has to decide which precincts are going to be moved to the malls,  Bautista said. “We are not trying to move everybody to the malls, we are just trying to move some voters to the malls,” he added.

Bautista said Comelec is still identifying which malls around the country will serve as polling precincts and as soon as the  precincts are pinpointed, local election officers will be the one to notify the voters whether or not they will vote in the malls or schools.              

Bautista expressed hopes the plan will enhance the voting experience and enourage voters to exercise their right of suffrage.

Eight mall chains around the country are being considered as voting precincts:   SM Supermalls, Ayala Malls, Robinsons Malls, Gaisano Grand Malls, Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, Pacific Malls/ Metro Gaisano, Waltermart Community Malls, and Fisher Mall.

Bautista said that the Comelec has already issued a list of requirements for shopping malls to qualify as voting precincts.

 Each mall is required to  have at least 63 square meters space for each of the clustered polling precincts, a dedicated access route throughout the polling station, access to persons with disability, and  preferably, ground floor location.

The technical requirement on the other hand, include 220 to 240 volt power source, provision for 44 to 50-watt power strips/extension cords, if floor sockets are not available; standby generator sets; closed circuit television cameras installed throughout the vicinity of the voting station; and a storage room.

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