A lawmaker on Tuesday expressed reservation about the proposal to allow voting for the 2016 local and national elections in malls, saying “political operators” might find a way to influence voters in such an open set-up. Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, chairman of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, said that while the Omnibus Election Code allows the voting to be held in public buildings, there is a possibility that the conduct of elections might be compromised if voters were allowed to cast their votes inside malls.
“Considering that voting will be done in malls, there will be other obstructions present that might disturb the solemnity of elections. In addition, the control hasn’t been defined. Control might be very hard insofar as malls are concerned,” he told reporters in a news briefing.
Even if a certain portion of a mall will be converted into a polling place, Castro said it will be difficult for the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) to monitor voters’ activities since a shopping center in itself is conducive to mingling with people who might not be inclined to vote, such as regular mall-goers and political operators for certain candidates.