More than 300 groups join call to extend voters registration
MANILA, Philippines — More than 300 groups composed of civil society organizations, youth groups, and sectoral leaders, call for the extension of the voter registration period.
In a unity statement on Thursday, the pro-democracy coalition Participate called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to extend the voter registration deadline beyond September 30.
“Given the multiple hard lockdowns in various parts of the country and the closure of satellite voter registration sites due to the Delta variant of the coronavirus pandemic, concluding voter’s registration too early may risk disenfranchising the 13.3 million unregistered potential voters,” Participate said in a group statement.
The group, citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said 73.3 million Filipinos are eligible to vote by 2022. However, there are only 60 million who are registered to vote, according to the Comelec.
Earlier, the poll body’s en banc had “decided against” the extension of the voter registration period. Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez also noted that extending the voter period would cause a “domino effect.”
“You delay the end of one, and you basically delay everything else,” he said in a press briefing on Wednesday.
“Nevertheless, we welcome the efforts of Comelec that allow more people to register before the September 30 deadline that includes an online voter reactivation status for persons with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens, and an extension of voter registration hours,” they said.
The coalition also asked the poll body to augment the number of satellite voter registration sites by partnering with local universities and colleges and look for ways to accommodate first-time voters, especially non-working and out-of-school youth.
“In a time where democratic spaces are being challenged, now more than ever, it is important to value and ensure that we have exhausted all means to provide every eligible Filipino voter a chance for their voice to be heard,” they said.
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