POC Electoral body approves mail-in voting

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    IN view of the constraints posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Olympic Committee Electoral Committee headed by Atty. Teddy Kalaw IV has decided to allow mail-in voting for the POC polls on Nov. 27.

    This process was included in the election rules released by the committee last Saturday and addressed to POC secretary general Atty. Edwin Gastanes following an online consultation with all the stakeholders – POC regular members/voters and candidates – and media observers last Nov. 9.

    Aside from Kalaw, an accredited arbiter of the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, the other committee members are UP president Atty. Danilo Concepcion and Frank Elizalde, the former International Olympic Committee representative to the Philippines.

    “This special protocol addresses personal safety concerns for the 2020 POC regular term elections,” the committee noted in the letter, adding it should be “disseminated to all the stakeholders and the public.”

    Incumbent POC president and Rep. Bambol Tolentino is running for reelection against World Archery Philippines president and POC Executive Board member Atty. Clint Aranas.

    The committee also instructed Gastanes “to specifically inform the POC Executive Board of the recommendations of the committee” so that “this special protocol can be approved by the general assembly” before or on the day of Nov. 27  prior to the POC election at the East Ocean Restaurant in Paranaque City.

    Singled out in the process was Rio Olympic Games weightlifting silver medalist Hidylin Diaz, who is currently training in Malaysia. She is a member of the POC Athletes’ Commission who can avail of the “sealed ballot process.”

    The same process was made available to voting National Sports Associations provided their presidents, vice-presidents and secretaries general are unable to attend the POC general assembly on Nov. 27.

    The NSA can submit their intentions to avail of the process by e-mail to the POC or to Kalaw not later than 5 p.m. this Friday. Those availing of this voting method will be given a “sealed ballot declaration and security measure sheet together with an official ballot” by e-mail by Kalaw from Nov. 24 to 25.

    The ballot must be sent by the NSA’s authorized or designated representative from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on election day.

    Those casting their votes personally are required to undergo antigen tests for the novel coronavirus before casting their votes, and bring a possible “alternate voter” in the event they test positive.

    As an extra precautionary measure, the POC electoral committee will set up a virtual link where the voters and candidates can communicate with the committee chairman and observe the election proceedings.