Comelec Proceeds With Voter Deregistration Over Biometric Non-Compliance

Comelec Proceeds With Voter Deregistration Over Biometric Non-ComplianceWith its newly-won Supreme Court backing, the Philippines’ Commission on Elections is proceeding with its deregistration of voters who failed to submit their biometric data in anticipation of this year’s national elections.

Comelec has now deregistered 300,000 voters in the Eastern Visayas region, an area that had appeared to be problematic in terms of biometric registration numbers prior to the closing of the registration period on October 31st of last year. But it’s worth noting that of those 300,000 individuals, only 81,000 were deregistered over the issue of biometric registration non-compliance; most of the others were delisted due to their failure to vote in the previous two regular elections.

After a tense legal battle over Comelec’s approach to biometric registration and even the idea of biometric voter authentication itself, the Supreme Court sided with the commission last month in determining that it could proceed as planned. Now, Comelec appears to be acting with renewed confidence, with Regional Director Nick Mendros asserting to reporters that voters who are now being deregistered “cannot blame us because we have given ample time to complete the biometrics registration,” adding that Comelec “also launched a massive information drive to make them aware of the satellite registration for their convenience.”

It’s hard to argue with those points, and indeed with Comelec’s biometric polling plan now poised for success, its approach could serve as a model for other countries seeking to implement biometric voting themselves.

Source: Manila Bulletin

January 14, 2016 – by Alex Perala