In special elections, notice to voters of time, etc. ESSENTIAL to validity

We cannot agree with the COMELEC that petitioner, his followers or the constituents must be charged with notice of the special elections to be held because of the failure of the two (2) previous elections. The re-scheduling of the special elections from May 27 to May 29, was done in uncommon haste and unreasonably too close for all voters to be notified of the changes, not only as to the date but as to the designated polling place. x x x To require the voters to come to the polls on such short notice was highly impracticable. In a place marred by violence, it was necessary for the voters to be given sufficient time to be notified of the changes and prepare themselves for the eventuality. It is essential to the validity of the election that the voters have notice in some form, either actual or constructive of the time, place and purpose thereof. The time for holding it must be authoritatively designated in advance. The requirement of notice even becomes stricter in cases of special elections where it was called by some authority after the happening of a condition precedent, or at least there must be a substantial compliance therewith so that it may fairly and reasonably be said that the purpose of the statute has been carried into effect. [G.R. No. 124089. November 13, 1996]