Press Release
January 28, 2010

Gordon: Congress to fast track passage of early voting bill

Senator Richard Gordon today said that both the Senate and the House of Representatives are working on the immediate passage of the early voting bill to ensure that it is signed into law, in time for implementation before the May 10 presidential elections.

Gordon, father of election modernization in the Philippines and author of Republic Act 9369 or the amended Automated Elections System Law, said that the primary objective of the bill is to prevent violence in places considered as areas of concern.

"This bill authorizes the Comelec (Commission on Elections) to conduct early voting in areas where there is a history of election violence or terrorism and for certain sectors such as the media, detainees/inmates and uniformed personnel of the BJMP (Bureau of Jail Management and Penology)," the senator said.

"I am sure we can pass this bill before Congress adjourns next week. If the House will adopt the Senate version, it would be faster," he added.

Gordon, principal author of Senate Bill 3570 (An Act Allowing Early Voting in National and Local Elections), which was passed on second reading last Wednesday, explained that the measure allows early voting, but the canvassing will be done only on the day of the national elections.

He added that the Comelec can only allow advanced voting to only twenty five percent (25%) of the total number of registered voters nationwide.

"It is the Comelec who will determine which areas will have early elections. Congress cannot manage the elections, it has to be the Comelec. We are just providing the standards upon which they can do it," Gordon said.

"Our aim here is to prevent violence, intimidation and terrorism by way of conducting early voting in areas of concern. That way, the forces of the government are concentrated in these places, thereby ensuring peaceful and credible elections," he added.

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