By Dona Z. Pazzibugan | Inquirer.net
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is way behind its target of registering 4 million new voters for the May 9, 2022, general elections.
Since voter registration resumed on Sept. 1, 2020, after the coronavirus lockdown, the Comelec had received 1,117,528 voter applications as of Jan. 14.
Calabarzon received the most applications, 167,709, followed by Central Luzon, 125,360, and Metro Manila, 117,011. The Cordillera Administrative Region had the least number of applications, 17,337, followed by Caraga, 34,051, and Eastern Visayas, 35,478.
The poll body has only about eight months left to register new voters before the period ends on Sept. 30.
“We are behind our target of 4 [million] new registrants,” Election Commissioner Rowena Guanzon tweeted on Friday. “I will propose overtime for our personnel so we can extend registration hours,” she added.
Comelec offices are open Mondays to Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to accept applications.
Not yet extended
Before the pandemic, the Comelec scheduled the voter registration for next year’s elections from Jan. 20, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021. The Sept. 30 deadline has not been extended.
The poll body suspended the registration on March 9, 2020, when the lockdown was imposed.
Those who will visit poll offices should observe Covid-19 health regulations, such as wearing masks and face shields, and observing physical distancing.
To register as a voter, one must be at least 18 years old, a resident of the Philippines for at least one year, and a resident for at least six months before the election of the city or municipality where one intends to vote.
A voter who wishes to transfer residence may also apply with the Comelec office in the new place of residence.
Those with a deactivated registration, usually due to failure to vote for two consecutive elections, may also apply for reactivation. INQ