The Philippines’ Commission on Elections, or COMELEC, is stepping up its efforts to register eligible voters’ biometrics in anticipation of the country’s 2016 election. The registration deadline of October 31 is fast approaching, and the country’s Mandatory Biometrics Registration Act of 2013 makes biometric registration mandatory for voters.
As COMELEC puts it, ‘No Bio, No Boto‘ (“boto” meaning “ballot”). The organization has been strenuously promoting the message for months in an attempt to ensure that all eligible voters are enrolled, with registration facilities being set up at popular malls, celebrities being recruited to tweet about the issue, and employers being urged to give staff time off to register. And as ABS-CBN News reports, there’s even a mobile app that lets voters know whether their biometrics are registered.
While a lot of progress has been made, there is much work to be done. COMELEC-VI Regional Dir. Atty. Dennis Ausan says that there are still four million unregistered voters across the country, and is now urging voters in the Western Visayas region to get signed up; the region currently has 144,000 unregistered voters.
The overall aim is, of course, to ensure that the 2016 elections proceed fairly, with eligible voters being offered easy access to the ballot. Few countries around the world have adopted biometric voter authentication on this scale, and given the suspicions against government-deployed biometric authentication in some countries, the Philippines’ COMELEC is doing commendable work in being transparent and accountable in rolling out this technology.
August 10, 2015 – by Alex Perala