Philippines Supreme Court Hears Challenge to Biometric Requirement for Voters

Philippines Supreme Court Hears Challenge to Biometric Requirement for VotersThe Philippines Supreme Court is hearing a challenge to the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) implementation of mandatory biometric voter identification ahead of next year’s national election.

Brought forward by a coalition of student and youth organizations under the wing of the Kabataan Party-list, the petition argues against the legitimacy of the biometric requirement itself. In that sense, it goes further than the group’s previous last-ditch effort to extend the October 31st deadline for biometric registration. That petition was brought forward at a time when the Supreme Court was not in session, and while its Chief Justice could have deemed it necessary to convene for a hearing on an exceptionally important issue, that did not end up happening.

It’s unclear whether or not that provides any indication of how the Supreme Court will weigh in on a challenge to the biometric requirement in general; speaking to CNN, a Kabataan Party-list representative asserted that the group believes it has a strong case on the basis of the constitutional right to vote. And it is an unfortunate fact that while the biometric registration window was open for several months, many voters did not attempt to register until the very last days, overwhelming Comelec’s centers and ultimately disenfranchising many otherwise eligible voters.

Going forward, this case could prove instructive to other governments around the world as they consider plans to introduce biometric polling in their own countries.

Source: CNN Philippines

November 26, 2015 – by Alex Perala