The head of the Philippines’ Commission on Elections says there will be no extension of the voter registration period ahead of the October 31st district and youth council elections, reports GMA News Online. Comelec chairman Andres Bautista explained that an extension of the registration period would interfere with the organization’s election preparations, adding, “We still have a few days left and we hope they [eligible voters] will not wait for the last minute before heading to their Offices of Election Officers.”
The deadline for registration is July 30th and, as in the case of last year’s national elections preparations, voters are required to register their biometric data. Between the opening of the registration period on July 15th and July 23rd, 1,181,139 citizens have already registered to vote, and in addition to many individuals who will need to re-register after having failed to vote in the previous two major elections, Comelec has said it expects about 3,000 first-time voters to sign up for these elections.
The danger is that a number of eligible voters will fail register during the registration period, and will thus find themselves disenfranchised when it comes time to vote on October 31st. Comelec strenuously campaigned to raise awareness about the need for biometric registration ahead of the national elections for months last year, and ultimately saw a massive and unmanageable influx of aspiring registrants at the end of the registration period. It subsequently had to fight in court against opponents who called into question the organization’s biometric registration requirement. With registration for the district and youth council elections open for only a couple of weeks, and less visible promotion, Comelec could face similar issues this time around. Of course, with the Supreme Court having backed it in last year’s dispute, Comelec’s officials may feel more confident in their plans for this round of elections.
Source: GMA News Online
July 26, 2016 – by Alex Perala