Manila Standard : Getting counted

30 June 2021

By Manila Standard

"This is the ultimate gesture of participation in our nation’s affairs."

Some 4.3 million new voters have registered for the elections in May 2022, the Commission on Elections said.

This number exceeds the 4-million target set by the commission. The new registrants bring the total number of voters to 60 million.

Of course, actual turnout will be lower than this number: In the 2016 presidential elections, turnout was 84 percent (out of 54 million voters). In the 2019 mid-term polls, turnout was 75 percent (out of 61.8 million voters).

It is good to exceed the registration target by a few hundred thousands but it would be even better if the targets are surpassed significantly. The Comelec has instituted measures to ensure the safety of the process and added convenience to voters—such as weekend schedules and mobile applications.

Young Filipinos—and also those whose voters’ statuses have been inactive or whose personal details have changed—should take advantage of the opportunity to be counted.

The identities of the people who run and win in the elections are secondary to the fundamental democratic principle of being on the roster of voters, and being able to exercise the right to vote on election day.

It is easy to comment on day-to-day issues that affect Filipinos and to wish that our leaders did more, or better. But going to the polling precincts to actually cast our votes—that is the ultimate gesture of participation in our nation’s affairs. Whoever are leading us are there because we placed them there, and if we want genuine, meaningful change, it is also within our collective power to bring that about.

Registration is still ongoing and will end Sept. 30. There is still time to build the numbers. Power rests with the people—let us lay claim to that power.