Bicam OKs absentee voting for media

A bicameral conference committee on Wednesday approved a bill allowing members of the media to vote even in places where they are not registered on election day. The reconciled version of Senate Bill 1198 and House Bill 4241 states that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) shall extend the right to vote under the local absentee voting system to members of media and media practitioners, including the technical and support staff, who are duly registered voters and who are on duty on the day of the elections. However, the bill says that they shall only be allowed to vote for the positions of president, vice president, senators, and party-list representatives. Already covered by local absentee voting are government officials and employees as well as members of the military and police force who will be on duty in places where they are not registered on election day. SB 1198 originally sought to allow members of the media who are registered voters to cast their vote one week before election day in the office of the city or municipal election registrar of the place of their assignment. On the other hand, HB 4241 originally pushed for the inclusion of the media as among those who can avail of local absentee voting. It also wanted to allow members of the media to vote even for those running for local positions. But considering how near the 2013 polls are, Senate electoral reforms committee chair Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III said they just decided to allow members of the media to vote in places where they are assigned on election day but only for national positions. — BM, GMA News

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