Comelec mounts election day dry run with over 4,000 test voters

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 21) — The Commission on Elections will put its voting day protocols to the test through a simulation on Saturday, Oct. 23.

A total of 4,235 test voters have been tapped for the exercise, which will be held from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., the poll body said in a statement. This is higher than the ideal limit of 800 voters per precinct, based on Comelec's current protocols.

READ: Up to 1,000 voters may share a precinct without additional voting machines - Comelec

The voters will be spread across four polling precincts inside the San Juan Elementary School, while three other classrooms will serve as holding areas.

The May 2022 polls are the country's first national elections amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The trial run would start at the Voter's Assistance Desk, where people can check which precinct they have been assigned to. Body temperatures will be taken upon entry.

READ: Comelec plans rollout of online precinct finder in January

Voters will be required to wear face masks and face shields. Frequently touched surfaces in the school would be disinfected regularly, while election officers will stand behind plastic barriers during the process.

One-meter physical distancing will be enforced by COVID-19 marshalls within the premises.

Also to be put to the test is the Comelec's proposed isolation polling place for voters with a body temperature higher than 37.5 degrees Celsius or those showing flu-like symptoms. Medical personnel will be on standby.

Comelec would assess if voting day protocols are sufficient to prevent a superspreader event as millions of Filipinos are expected to go out and vote. Its spokesperson James Jimenez said the dry run will help Comelec "streamline the overall voting experience."

A special polling place within the school will also be prepared for voters with disabilities, senior citizens, and heavily pregnant women.

READ: Comelec mulls 5 voters per precinct, limited poll watchers during 2022 elections