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Voters, register!

/ 05:00 AM October 09, 2021

A key phase of the 2022 elections has been substantively completed, at least until substitution day. The period for filing of certificates of candidacy ran from Oct. 1 to 8, with all potential candidates filing for positions from president to city councilors nationwide. The next big moves will happen on or before Nov. 15, the last day for substitution of candidates when “placeholder” candidates or those who drop out are switched for the real candidates who wanted to run in the first place.

Now that that’s over, we can focus on another critical activity—voter registration. I can’t emphasize this enough. If you want to create change and reform through your vote, you need to first register to be a voter. Fortunately, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has listened to public clamor to extend the voter registration to partially offset days lost due to lockdowns and severely restricted mobility. That extension will run from Monday, Oct. 11, to Saturday, Oct. 30. Take note that office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays to Fridays. There are no Saturdays for registration except for Oct. 30.

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If you’ll be 18 years old on or before Election Day 2022, you can register as a voter today.

Let’s look at some basic numbers. Our total population is 111.6 million, of which 65 percent are adults or persons of voting age. That gives us 73.3 million people. The equivalent number in 2019 (our last election) was 66.8 million, an increase of 6.5 million people of voting age from 2019 to 2021.

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In the 2019 elections, we had 61.8 million registered voters. As of Sept. 25, we had 63.4 million registered voters, an increase of only 1.6 million even though there were an additional 6.5 million adults over the same period. Why is that so?

So far, the Comelec reports that 4.15 million have registered as first-time voters for 2022. Another 2.64 million have filed for transfers of their precinct from one location (for example from one city to another). However, 6.3 million voters have been deactivated because they haven’t voted in the last two consecutive elections. Of this number, only 643,524 have successfully reactivated their registration, while another 460,955 have requested for updates on their voter records. This largely explains why there have been only 1.6 million new registered voters added to the rolls since 2019.

Fortunately, there is still more time to register or reactivate your record if you have been deactivated. For first-time voters, you’ll have to download the necessary forms from the Comelec website (www.comelec.gov.ph), fill them out, and take them down to your local Office of the Election Officer or to a satellite office in a mall, and get your biometrics done. One important reminder: Sign the forms in the presence of the Comelec officer and not beforehand when you fill out the form.

If you are not sure if your record has been deactivated, you can verify your record by sending a message to the Comelec on its Facebook page (fb.com/comelec.ph) or Twitter account (twitter.com/COMELEC). You can also call a landline (85267769) or mobile (09275595926). You can also send a message on Twitter to Commissioner Rowena Guanzon (@rowena_guanzon), who has tirelessly answered so many queries on this.

If you are in fact deactivated, you can reactivate online. Comelec Resolution No. 10715 allows for online reactivation. You’ll need to go to the Comelec website to download the form. Once you fill it out, you’ll need to scan it and send it back online with some form of identification and documentation.

If you feel strongly about your future and that of the country, I urge you to register now and vote in 2022.

For more information on how to register or reactivate your voter record, check out www.comelec.gov.ph, www.voteforus.org, or www.votepilipinas.com.

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Guillermo M. Luz served as Namfrel secretary general for 12 years covering five national elections.

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Business Matters is a project of the Makati Business Club ([email protected]).

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