The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has joined forces with SM Super Mall, as well as various other malls across the nation, to establish a collaborative initiative aimed at conducting a pilot test for voting within mall premises.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was formally endorsed for this endeavor, with the focus on the upcoming Barangay and SK Elections scheduled for October 30, 2023.

The signing ceremony of the MOA took place on August 7, 2023, led by Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia and Steven Tan, President of SM SUPERMALLS. In attendance were several distinguished Comelec Commissioners who witnessed the event.

Several malls, including SM Super Mall, have committed to participate in this innovative poll voting pilot test, which is being spearheaded by the Commission on Election (Commelec).

Chairman George Erwin Garcia of the Comelec emphasized that the success of this pilot test program, as embraced by mall proprietors, holds the potential to influence the structure of the 2025 National Election.

The pilot test will be executed across a total of 12 malls, encompassing the SM Malls, Robinson’s Mall, two malls in Cebu, and another in Legazpi City. However, it is important to note that voters are not mandated to cast their votes within malls; they will retain the option to choose traditional polling precincts situated in schools.

A fundamental objective of this initiative by the Comelec is to ensure a secure and convenient voting experience for senior citizens, pregnant women, and persons with disabilities (PWDs). Chairman Garcia further elucidated that the financial burden of the mall voting project does not fall upon the Comelec, as the management of the malls will be responsible for all logistical aspects, including the provision of suitable facilities, security measures, and necessary equipment. (Benj Cuaresma/ai/mnm)