The Commission on Elections (Comelec) reminded voter registrants to check the box on their application form to indicate whether they would need special assistance for them to be accommodated at accessible polling places (APPs) on election day.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez urged those who will apply for registration to check the corresponding box of the category of people who would be needing assistance which include illiterates, persons with disability (PWDs) and Indigenous People (IPs).
This option can be found at the upper right portion of the form.
“As you can see, there are three categories: ILLITERATES, PWDs, and IPs. Illiterate individuals need to check that box to ensure that their chosen assistors are recognized by the Chair of the Electoral Board with no hassle,” Jimenez said in a post in his personal blog.
Jimenez made the reminder following incidents during the recent Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, where people who needed special assistance weren’t immediately identified by poll workers.
“As a result, persons with disability weren’t always accommodated at APPs…The same went for senior citizens, some of whom had to climb some stairs just so they could vote,” he said.
“In order for this solution to work, however, the Comelec needs to know that a person is, in fact, in need of special assistance. For that to happen, there must be an annotation on the person’s voter registration record to that effect; and for THAT to happen, the voter’s application for registration must clearly contain that information,” Jimenez added.
On the other hand, he explained why there is no box for senior citizens.
“You might note that there is no check-box for Senior Citizens, even though Seniors are equally beneficiaries of APPs. That’s because, somewhere else on the form, the voter’s age is recorded and so, the Comelec knows which voters are seniors.”
APPs are special precincts for persons needing special assistance which are located at the ground floors of the school buildings were the elections were being conducted.
He noted that members of indigenous groups need to identify themselves so that they “can be quickly identified for inclusion in various special programs intended specifically to benefit IPs.”
At the same time, he urged the people to inform their relatives who will be needing assistance on the day of the election to share this information and also to update their information details.
“So, if you know someone who can use an APP – typically, a senior or a PWD – please share this information with them. Note, however, that not all who can avail of the APP actually want to,” the poll body official said.
“Nevertheless, it’s always better not to limit your available options. So, if the person you know is already registered to vote, then go with them to the Comelec office in the city/municipality where you reside and tell the Comelec official there that they want to ensure that their info is updated to reflect their need for election day assistance; if they’re NOT registered to vote yet, well then go with them to help them get registered! And remind them that if they CHECK THE BOX (#CheckTheBox #CTB) on their registration forms, it will go a long way towards ensuring that they get all the help they need on election day,” he added.
The nationwide continuing registration for the May 2018 national and local polls which started on July 2 and will run until September 29.
Applicants for new registration, transfer/transfer with reactivation, reactivation, change/correction of entry, and inclusion/reinstatement of records in the list of voters shall all be accepted.
Their applications shall be personally filed at the Offices of the Election Officer (OEOs) of the city/district/municipality, where the applicant resides, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., every Mondays to Saturdays, including holidays. (Ferdinand Patinio/PNA)