The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday has moved the voters' registration deadline to October 31 instead of December 15 reportedly to accommodate the preparations for the full automation of the May 2010 polls.
"The Commission resolved to move back the voters’ registration deadline to October 31 from December 15 in order to give us more time to prepare for the full automation of the 2010 elections," Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said in a statement.
Despite the earlier deadline for registration, Jimenez said that voters will be given more opportunities to register after the commission also ruled to open registration on Saturdays and holidays, mainly to encourage students and workers to register.
Last Thursday, the Comelec en banc promulgated Resolution 8585, amending portions of Resolution 8514 that provided the rules and regulations governing the resumption of the system of continuing voters’ registration.
Among the provisions amended in the said resolution are Sections 4 which outlined the date, time and places of filing of applications, hearing and approval; and Section 6 which provided that persons who have not yet reached the required voting age or period of residence but will posses the same on or before the day of the elections may only register starting May 12, 2009.
"There are compelling reasons for the amendments being sought in order for the Commission to accomplish the pre-election activities in pursuit of its mandate to conduct clean, honest, orderly, peaceful, and credible May 10, 2010 National and Local Elections," the resolution stated.
"There is a public clamor to open registration during Saturday to accommodate the youth-students and the busy workers, who have no time to register during the weekdays," the new Comelec resolution said.
"As they (the youth) will comprise the majority of the first time registrants, the Commission deemed it best to lift the aforecited time limitation in Secs. 6 and to provide additional registration days and holidays falling on weekdays, except Holy Thursday and Good Friday on April 9 and 10, 2009," the resolution added.