May 9, 2022, elections

Published September 30, 2020, 10:32 AM

by Atty. Gregorio Larrazabal


(Part 2)

How do you get ready for the May 9, 2022, elections?  That’s the burning question now.  How do you prepare to conduct national elections in 2022?

In every election, whether automated or manual (barangay elections), it becomes a national fiesta in the Philippines.  Almost all registered voters go out and vote (with about 80% voter turnout for presidential elections), and some even bring their family and friends with them (even if they’re not voters).  It’s an event in itself where people go to the voting centers and not only vote, but also catch up with the latest news and “tsismis.”

But before we move forward on what we need to do, we have to get the basics right.  When you register as voter, you’re assigned to an established precinct in the voter database.  As defined by Republic Act 8189, a precinct refers to the basic unit of territory established by the Commission for the purpose of voting.”  Each established precinct is comprised of a maximum number of 200 voters.  If the number of people to be registered in that precinct exceeds 200 voters, a “spin-off” or “daughter precinct” is created.  Established precincts are created based on barangay.  So each barangay has a precinct.  When you register, you are tagged to the precinct where your barangay is located.  This was probably the precursor to geotagging.  Your precinct is specifically located in the barangay of the city or municipality you reside in. Established precincts are to be located in polling places.  Polling Place refers to the place where the Board of Election Inspectors conducts its proceedings and where the voters cast their votes.  While Voting Center refers to the building or place where the polling place is located.  So in practice, the public school where you head to on election day to vote is the Voting Center.  The classroom in the public school you proceed to, in order to vote, is the polling place where the clustered precinct is located.

You might ask why is it that if an established precinct is supposed to be only limited to 200 voters, why is that some polling places have a precinct with more than 200 voters.  That’s because the polling place is comprised of clustered precincts.  That means two or more established precincts grouped together.  In automated elections, several established precincts are consolidated, as long as the number of voters per clustered precinct do not exceed 1,000 voters.  Usually it’s around 600 voters per clustered precinct.  One important thing to remember is that established precincts can only be grouped together to form a clustered precinct as long as the precincts are all located in the SAME barangay.  You cannot group precincts located in different barangays, into one clustered precinct.

On election day, each clustered precinct is manned by a set of three people.  For national elections, they’re called the Board of Election Inspectors.  For Barangay Elections, they’re referred to as Board of Election Tellers.  But Republic Act No. 10756, titled “AN ACT RENDERING ELECTION SERVICE NON-COMPULSORY FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS, AUTHORIZING THE APPOINTMENT OF OTHER QUALIFIED CITIZENS, PROVIDING FOR COMPENSATION AND OTHER BENEFITS” changed that, and now they’re referred to as the “Electoral Board”.  Though people still generally still refer to them as teachers, because until RA 10756 was passed, it was mandatory for public school teachers to serve as BEIs / BETs / Electoral Board.

On October 5, we’ll discuss the logistics needed to prepare for the elections.

Stay Safe.  Stay healthy.  Register as a voter.