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Low turnout on last day of poll registration

/ 12:21 AM April 30, 2017

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has noted a low turnout on Saturday, the last day of the five-month voters’ registration period for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said that queues at local election offices in Metro Manila were relaxed and laid back, contrary to the habit of many Filipinos to wait until the last minute.

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“Reports are still incomplete but it looks like a majority of cities and regions nationwide are reporting low to middle turnout of registrants,” Jimenez said after visiting some poll offices.

He added: “This is shaping up to be the most uneventful end of registration in recent memory.”

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Jimenez made the remarks based on his visits to local election offices in Manila and Quezon City on Saturday, which was the last day for Filipinos to sign up as voters.

Photos posted on his Twitter account, @jabjimenez, showed local election offices in the two cities having relatively few voters accomplishing and submitting their applications for registration.

“At the Comelec office in Manila, last day of voters’ registration. During previous registration periods, this area would have overflowed with deadline beaters,” Jimenez said of one photo.

The voters’ registration period for the 2017 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls began last Nov. 7, 2016.

As of April 15, the Comelec has recorded 2,174,601 applicants signing up to be voters. The poll body initially expected around 2.5 million voters to register during the said period.

The poll body has repeatedly reminded the public not to wait until the last minute to file their applications for voters’ registration to avoid the long queues expected on the last day.

Jimenez saw the “relaxed, laid back” atmosphere on the last day as a good thing since it meant that Filipinos went to the local election offices ahead of the April 29 deadline.

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“There are three possible reasons: the effective satellite registration campaign of the Comelec, the potential postponement of the elections and the two consecutive registration periods,” he said.

Jimenez was referring to the fact that proposals are afoot to defer the 2017 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections to 2020.

This would be the second time that the said polls would be postponed under the Duterte administration. —JULIE M. AURELIO

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TAGS: barangay elections, Comelec, James Jimenez, Sangguniang Kabataan elections, voters registration
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