Comelec sees 2M voters not being able to validate registration
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Monday at least two million Filipino voters would not likely validate their biometrics data and would lose their eligibility to cast their ballots during the 2016 presidential elections.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said from the 9.6 million Filipino registered voters without biometrics data recorded in May, only 4.7 million have not updated their information. At least half of these voters would not likely submit their data to the Comelec.
Jimenez said two million would already be an “acceptable number” for the Comelec. “We don’t expect to come down to zero…more or less roughly one to two million will really not vote,” he said.
This figure would include those who failed to vote in two consecutive elections, those who died, left the country, had been convicted for crimes and those who gave up on the electoral system altogether, he pointed out.
“Our goal has always been to bring that number down and just to make sure that no voters will be disenfranchised,” he added.
The Mandatory Biometrics Registration Act of 2013 provides that voters who fail to submit their registration for validation prior to the May 2016 elections shall be deactivated from the voters’ list and shall not be allowed to vote.
Biometrics data refers to the automated identification of an individual, particularly his/her photograph, fingerprint, and signature, as captured by the Comelec’s Voter Registration Machine (VRM), which is simply a desktop computer equipped with a digital camera, fingerprint scanner and signature pad.
But while the Comelec registration was still ongoing, Jimenez urged private and public schools to open iRehistro centers in their premises to encourage students to register for the upcoming balloting. Voter registration for the 2016 elections will run until October 31 this year.
The iRehistro centers will allow potential voters to accomplish the voter registration application through the Internet.
“We’re calling out to schools to get in touch with us and then we’ll come to you and set it up so we can help the youth enlist [for the upcoming elections],” he said.
Under the system, applicants only need to visit www.iRehistro.com or www.comelec.gov.ph to fill out the form and print three copies, which they will have to submit to their respective Offices of Election Officers (OEOs). The OEOs will capture their biometrics data when the applicants submit the forms to them.