Tolentino wants guidelines on exit polls amid extended voting hours in2022 elections

Tolentino wants guidelines on exit polls amid extended voting hours in
2022 elections

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA – Senator Francis ‘Tol’ N. Tolentino urged the Commission on
Elections (COMELEC) to set guidelines for survey firms over the
release of their respective exit poll results in next year’s
Presidential Elections amid plans to extend the voting hours due to
the COVID-19 pandemic.

During Wednesday’s inquiry of the Senate Committee on Electoral
Reforms and People’s Participation, Tolentino said that an early
release of exit poll results may influence the results of next year’s
elections especially that the Department of Health’s (DOH) latest
pronouncement that the minimum health standards being imposed by the
Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) can increase the voting hours during
the conduct of the May 9 polls.

“Increasing the voting hours would likewise (will) enable the trending
in exit polling—as part of the exercise,” said Tolentino.

Tolentino cautioned the poll body that an early release of the exit
poll figures may lead to the so-called ‘bandwagon’ effect and voters
will mostly like choose those candidates who are leading in the
post-election surveys rather than their preferred candidates.

The senator also stressed that an early release of exit poll results
in the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) may influence local voters,
especially that absentee voters abroad are in different time zones and
are allowed to vote earlier than those here in the country.

Under Republic Act No. 10590, ballots are made available for overseas
absentee voters 30-days before the election day.

Tolentino noted the incident in the recent presidential elections in
the United States, wherein the early release of exit poll surveys has
greatly affected and influence the outcome the results, considering
that it was a tight race.

Senator Imee Marcos, chair of the Senate Committee on Electoral
Reforms and People’s Participation concurred with the queries raised
by Tolentino, noting that Filipino voters usually favors those
candidates that leading in surveys.

Dir. Norina Tangaro-Casingal of the COMELEC Law Department admitted
that the poll body has yet set guidelines on the schedule of the
release of exit poll results.

Casingal said they will consider the voting cut-off time on when to
allow the release of exit poll figures, depending on the
recommendation of proper authorities considering that there is a need
for an extended voting period due to the pandemic. (ai/mtvn)

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