Business Mirror – ‘Magparehistro ka na’

By James Jimenez| Business Mirror

Voter Registration resumes on September 1, 2020—five days from now. If you just turned 18, then you can register as a new voter; if you used to vote somewhere else but want to vote in a different place in 2022, then put in for a transfer to where you want to vote. In both cases, voter registration will be in-person and it will be conducted only in the Comelec office, in your area.

Aside from registering to vote for the first time and transferring your registration someplace else, you can also apply for reactivation of status as a registered voter. This move is necessary when you’ve missed two consecutive regular elections. In the case of this registration period, you need to file for a reactivation of your registration if you missed the 2019 National and Local Elections and the 2018 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

You can also file for a “correction of entries” if the Comelec has misspelled your name or misgendered you or just gotten something wrong in your records that you want to amend. But now, you can’t file for a correction of entries just to change your picture on record. Seriously, however, people who have recently gotten married—or have had their marriages annulled—usually come in for this. If you come in for a correction of entries, make sure you have proof of the change you want made. Misspelled name? Bring a birth certificate; new married name? Bring your marriage certificate. You catch the drift.

And then there are those who need to be reinstated into the list of voters after having been previously stripped of their political rights. Starting September 1, the Comelec will be handling those cases as well.

New normal protocols

Registration days are Tuesday to Saturday, and application forms will be accepted by the Comelec offices from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. only. Needless to say, the usual Covid-safe procedures will be strictly enforced—no mask and no shield, no service; maintain physical distancing at all times; and practice hand hygiene frequently.

And just like most other establishments nowadays, the Comelec will be requiring applicants to accomplish a health status self-declaration. In conjunction with the self-declaration, Comelec offices are under orders to advise those with a fever—as a rule of thumb, a person with a measured temperature of 38°C is considered to have a fever—to seek medical attention. In other words, people with fever temperatures will be asked to leave.

It is strongly recommended that people intending to register should download the application form from the Comelec web site and then fill it out before even coming to the Comelec office. This isn’t “online registration”—not by any stretch of the imagination—but it will help tremendously in cutting down the time you (and others) need to spend at the Comelec office.

Without a pre-filled form, a person will have to wait until they get into the office, in order to be given an application form—this after having already waited in queue for the person ahead of them to finish and exit the premises. Once the registrant gets the form, they need to accomplish it, while inside the office. This means that the next person in line has to wait for them to finish, extending the waiting time of everyone in queue after them.

There is no argument for efficiency either. Because Comelec offices aren’t the most spacious places to begin with, you can only have a very limited number of people inside at any one time. With social distancing rules, some offices will even be able to accommodate only one applicant at a time—literally. So let’s not even argue about why we can’t have people off to one side filling up forms while others do whatever. It’s not likely to happen, and even if it did, it would endanger people and that is non-negotiable.

Download the forms

IN order to download application forms, point your browser to https://comelec.gov.ph. On the landing page, click on the Voter Registration tab on the menu. You can also scroll down a little further and find a big button that says Voter Registration with the picture of a fingerprint. You can click that too. Both the menu tab and the fingerprint button will take you to the web site’s Voter Registration page.

On the right side of the page, there’s a couple of boxes. The top box will have the heading Contents List. Click on “Application Form,” which is the third item down from the top. That will take you to another page where you will see two links. A link to CEF-1 and a link that says Annex B.

CEF-1 is the application form. Click on that and it will take you to a “.pdf” that you can easily download or print. If you don’t know how to do that, ask for help.

Annex B, on the other hand, is very important for Persons with Disabilities, Senior Citizens, Indigenous Peoples, and people who are unable to read and write. Annex B is where these individuals get to indicate that they need assistance, what sort of assistance they need, and who their assistors are going to be. Submitting this form helps the Comelec ensure that you get the assistance you need on election day. So if you’re helping out a PWD, a senior citizen, an indigenous person, or an illiterate, then this is the form you want to make sure you get.

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