By Melissa Luz Lopez | CNN Philippines
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 31) – Two groups on Tuesday filed formal requests for the Commission on Elections to extend the voter registration period beyond Sept. 30.
The clamor for a longer voter registration period grew stronger, adding to earlier requests of senators and members of the House of Representatives to accommodate more voters who will take part in the May 9, 2022 presidential and local polls.
Defend Jobs Philippines asked the poll body to keep accepting applications for new voters, transfer of records, and reactivation of delisted voters until end-October. Meanwhile, Akbayan Youth and members of the First Time Voters Network said registration activities should last until January of next year to make up for lost time due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
Voter registration for the May 2022 election is only allowed in areas under general community quarantine and modified GCQ.
A separate petition from former poll commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal appealed for registration to resume in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) like Metro Manila and Iloilo. He said there is no legal impediment for Comelec to allow voter registration in MECQ areas.
However, the National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections said a "selective" extension may be considered for lockdown areas rather than a nationwide reprieve.
"It would be ideal if we could extend the voters registration but it's also very difficult for Comelec to extend it because on Oct. 1 to Oct. 8, this is the period where Comelec and Comelec offices will start receiving the certificates of candidacy (COC) of those who wish to run for the 2022 elections," said Eric Alvia, Namfrel secretary general.
Alvia added that more satellite registration desks should be set up to accommodate registration during the COC filing period. There were 61.08 million eligible voters as of last week, according to Comelec data.