Comelec: 54.6M Filipinos are voters
At least 54.6 million Filipinos registered to vote in next year’s presidential election, a jump of two million from the voter count in the last election, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday.
Comelec Chair Andres Bautista said the latest figure of between 54.5 million and 54.6 million registrants may still increase when registration reports from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) come in.
“We have almost 100 percent reporting. It’s only the ARMM that has yet to submit their report [to us],” Bautista told reporters in an interview yesterday.
He did not explain why the ARMM count was delayed.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez also reported on Friday that at least 1.3 million Filipinos abroad have registered as overseas absentee voters (OAVs). The agency was still hopeful it would reach its 1.5-million target for OAVs when all Philippine diplomatic posts submit their reports.
As for the turnout of local registrants, Jimenez said social media was a big factor in boosting the level of awareness among voters on the need to register for the upcoming elections. “[Our campaign on social media] directly translated into more people registering,” he said.
“But obviously, the main reason for the big turnout is that because we are holding a presidential elections next year,” added Jimenez.
He also noted that the count may slightly decrease after the Election Registration Board (ERB) has heard all the applications to vote. Under Republic Act No. 8189, or The Voters Registration Act of 1996, the ERB is mandated to hear registration applications every quarter of every year for the registration period.
The Comelec said all applications for registration and other voter-related applications are not automatically approved. These applications have to be approved or disapproved by the ERB in every applicable district, city and municipality.
An ERB is composed of the city or municipal election officer, a public school official and the local civil registrar.
“Again, we would just like to emphasize that these are not yet the final figures because reporting is not yet 100 percent and the ERB will still do its job,” explained Jimenez.
Earlier, the Comelec had projected that registered voters for the May 9 presidential elections next year will exceed figures in the two previous balloting at about 54 million.
During the 2010 polling, there were 51.2 million registered voters with a 74-percent voter turnout.
In the 2013 balloting, 40.14 million voters cast their ballots out of the 52.9 million who registered to vote.
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