3 million new voters expected

By Sheila Crisostomo, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 06 2014 02:42 AM | Updated as of May 06 2014 10:42 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) expects around three million new voters to sign up during the voters’ registration that starts today for the 2016 elections.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez yesterday said they are also hoping that the 9.6 million registered voters who have not had their biometrics data taken will update their registration status.

Jimenez said that otherwise, they will not be able to vote in 2016.

“We are ready. In preparation for the resumption of the voters’ registration, the Comelec has gone all out to make sure that the process is convenient, that the sites for registration are accessible,” he said.

The three million new voters pertain to those who will turn 18 on or before election day in 2016.

The registration will end on Oct. 31, 2015, but the Comelec is urging qualified voters to register early for their own convenience.

Jimenez said the working hours and working days in all local Comelec offices have been adjusted while a mechanism has been put in place “to bring the registration closer to people.”

“At this point, we see no excuses why people should wait until the very last minute to register,” he said.

Jimenez said the registration process takes less than 10 minutes.

“It can be done really fast if they are there early enough,” he said.

To reach out to prospective voters, the Comelec has allowed the conduct of satellite registration in the field upon request of barangay officials.

Aside from this, the poll body has authorized its election officers to hold at least one “satellite registration event” in a public place which they have chosen.

Jimenez said the offices of the election officers will also be open every Sunday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Qualified to register are those at least 18 years of age; a resident of the Philippines for at least one year, and in the place where he proposes to vote for at least six months immediately preceding the election; and not disqualified by law, such as being sentenced by final judgment to suffer imprisonment for not less than one year.

The Comelec has also made the registration form for new voters downloadable from its website to enable registrants to print and fill out in advance.

Jimenez added the Comelec has acquired 500 new voter’s registration machines to augment the existing 2,700 units.