Comelec: 4.3 M voters still without biometrics

by Sheila Crisostomo, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 21 2015 11:38 AM | Updated as of Jun 21 2015 07:38 PM

MANILA - With some 4.3 million registered voters still without biometrics data, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday sought the public’s help in its “No Bio, No Boto” campaign.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said these voters without digital photograph, signature and fingerprints in their registration records face disenfranchisement in next year’s elections.

“People should get involved. We need everyone’s help,” he said.

There were 9.6 million voters without biometrics data when the Comelec opened the voter’s registration in May 2014.

The Comelec is forging partnerships with the country’s biggest mall operators to put up satellite registration booths in their malls all over the country.

Bautista urged the public to help the Comelec by acting as “volunteer voter educators” in their communities.

“Help us spread the word about the ‘No Bio, No Boto’ campaign. By simply informing your neighbors about the need to validate, citizens can contribute a lot in preventing massive disenfranchisement in 2016,” he said.

The poll body plans to provide volunteer voter educators with a list of voters in their area without or with incomplete biometrics.

Bautista also urged the youth to help in the campaign by maximizing social media platforms.

Voters’ registration will continue until Oct. 31.

Mall registration

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said yesterday that negotiations are now underway with Robinsons, Ayala Malls and SM to set up the satellite registration centers in the malls next month.

“We will make our ‘No Bio, No Boto’ more visible so that we can encourage those who still do not have their biometrics with us to validate their registration. We don’t want them to be disenfranchised just because they do not have biometrics,” he noted.

The Comelec is eyeing some 56 million voters for the 2016 presidential polls, up from the 52 voters in the 2013 elections.

Along with the intensified satellite registration, the Comelec will also scale up voter’s registration in local Comelec offices by rolling out their back-up voter’s registration machines.

Jimenez admitted the Comelec could not go full blast with media advertisements because of lack of funds. But he said the poll body is relying on the support of the mass media to help them in the campaign.

Comelec has also asked celebrities who are on Twitter to help promote the “No Bio, No Boto” campaign.

Jimenez said barangay and local government officials could also help by assisting voters who may want to go to local Comelec offices.

“We are also appealing to employers to give their workers a ‘bio break’ so they could go to the nearest Comelec office. We need everyone’s help now,” Jimenez added.

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