The Philippines’ Commission on Elections (Comelec) is forging ahead with its biometric polling efforts with a new round of elections underway. These are the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections—referring essentially to small districts and youth councils, respectively.
As Sun.Star Baguio reports, the elections are scheduled for October 31st with voter registration having opened last week. Comelec is expecting about 3,000 young, first-time voters will need to register their biometrics in order to participate. It also predicts that about 8,000 adults will need to register, with both figures based on data from elections held in 2013.
It’s a similar situation to that of the national elections held earlier this year. That was the first national election to be affected by legislation mandating the biometric registration of voters, and Comelec accordingly undertook strenuous efforts to encourage eligible voters to register ahead of that project’s deadline. Nevertheless, enough citizens failed to register that it led to some controversy over whether the biometric requirement was even constitutional, with the country’s Supreme Court ultimately siding with Comelec.
In the wake of those events, Comelec can likely proceed with biometric registration for the Barangay and SK elections somewhat more at ease. But given the hack attacks against Comelec databases earlier this year, it may also have to contend with more public skepticism about how it will protect their biometric data.
Source: Sun.Star Baguio
July 20, 2016 – by Alex Perala
[Update – July 26, 2016: An earlier version of this article implied that the registration deadline for the current round of elections is October 31st; the deadline is July 30th.]