Comelec explains why no one’s a voter just yet
NOT SO fast.
Those who trooped to Commission on Elections (Comelec) offices and malls to register and have their biometrics taken cannot be considered registered voters just yet.
The Comelec reminded voters Sunday, a day after the close of the 17-month registration period, that their application for registration forms (ARF) will still have to go through a hearing process in the Election Registration Board (ERB) before their names could be placed in the certified list of voters.
“Many people who were able to register are saying that they are full-fledged voters already. Technically speaking, they cannot be considered as such because their applications have yet to go through the ERB,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez told reporters.
“Only after the ERB has heard and approved their voter applications can they say that they are valid voters,” he said.
Earlier, the Comelec projected that the number of registered voters for next year’s presidential election will exceed the figures in the two previous polls.
During the 2010 elections, there were 51.2-million registered voters with a 74-percent voter turnout.
In 2013, 40.14 million voters cast ballots out of 52.9-million registered voters.
Under Republic Act No. 8189, or The Voter’s Registration Act of 1996, the ERB is mandated to hear registration applications every quarter of every year during the registration period.
An ERB is composed of the city or municipal election officer, a public school official and the local civil registrar.
Based on the calendar of activities promulgated by the Comelec, the ERB can hold a meeting to certify the list of voters until Feb. 4, 2016. The official list of voters will be made available five days later or on Feb. 9.
Jimenez said the ERB hearings allow anyone to contest the validity of a voter’s application. The most common objections filed with the board are questions on citizenship and residency of an applicant, he said.
“But if no one will contest an ARF, it is safe to say the applicant will be included in the official list of voters,” he said.
Jimenez also noted that applicants should hurdle the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) to be declared an official voter.
The AFIS is a system employed by the Comelec to spot double and multiple registrants by cross-matching voters’ biometrics data.
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