Philippines’ Comelec ends biometrics registration for voters
The Philippines’ Commission on Elections (Comelec) denied requests for postponing the deadline for voter registration, thus ending the 17-month registration period on October 31 for the 2016 general elections, according to The Philippine Star.
Last week, Ang Kabataan party-list group called on the Philippines’ Supreme Court to urge the Commission on Elections to extend the registration period to January 8, citing technical difficulties of the biometrics registration technology.
“No extension. We gave the people a year and a half to register and validate their biometrics. I think we have done enough to let the people know about the registration,” said Comelec chairman Andres Bautista.
The agency did, however, extend the voters’ registration in some areas that were hit by Typhoon Lando in Cagayan Valley region.
Meanwhile, those citizens who did register and submit their biometrics with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) cannot yet be officially considered registered voters, according to a report by Inquirer.net.
The Comelec said that applications for registration forms (ARF) will still be required to go through the Election Registration Board’s (ERB) hearing process before their names will be added to the certified list of voters.
The ERB consists of a city or municipal election officer, a public school official and the local civil registrar.
“Many people who were able to register are saying that they are full-fledged voters already,” said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez. “Technically speaking, they cannot be considered as such because their applications have yet to go through the ERB. Only after the ERB has heard and approved their voter applications can they say that they are valid voters.”
The Comelec previously projected that the number of registered voters for next year’s election will exceed the combined number of voters registered for the last two polls.
The ERB is authorized by the Comelec to hold a meeting to certify the list of voters until February 4, 2016, with the official list of voters posted on February 9.