Special polling places for PWDs, senior citizens sought-A A +A
Saturday, October 20, 2012
A PROPOSED bill seeks not only to provide special polling places for persons with disabilities and senior citizens during Election Day but also to set up special registration centers and days for them during the registration period.
"How can these sectors register as voters when the registration centers are not easily accessible to them? How can they eventually vote when their precincts are located on the upper floors of the polling centers without elevators or electric-run stairs to make things easier for them?" Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, author of Senate Bill 3287, said.
Once signed into law, the bill directs the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to establish a system that will make it easier for the PWDs and senior citizens to register and vote.
The poll body shall also keep an updated record of PWDs and senior citizen registered voters, indicating the types of disability and the assistance they need while the polling place must be located at the ground floor preferably near the entrance of the building.
Moreover, the poll body may maintain the existing precinct assignment of the PWD and senior citizen voters; establish a separate precinct for PWDs and senior citizens; or combine them with other voters in existing precincts on the ground floor of appropriate buildings and depending on their number in the locality, and upon consultation with PWD and senior citizen sectors.
For blind voters, the bill also asked the Comelec to design ballot guides in Braille and guide them in filling up the ballots by themselves.
Lastly, the Comelec may coordinate with the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and other concerned groups to organize, design, and implement sensitivity training programs for persons performing electoral duties to familiarize them with the needs of the PWDs and senior citizens.
The bill is still being deliberated in the Senate plenary. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)