Pangilinan asks Comelec to reconsider voter’s registration extension
with the two-week lockdown in Metro Manila expected to heavily impact voter’s registration, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Monday asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to reconsider decision to not extend voter’s registration.
“There are now only 52 days left to register to vote. With 11 days to go under ECQ, we will lose two weeks where we could have reached more people. Given the threat of the Delta variant, we ask the Comelec to reconsider the possibility of extending voter’s registration,” Pangilinan appealed.
Comelec earlier said that the commission en banc has not discussed the possibility to extend the voter’s registration period.
According to Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, the filing of candidacies in October is also part of the consideration as preparing the final list of voters should have already started by then.
Pangilinan, however, hopes some leeway could be made given pandemic restrictions.
“We hope some adjustments can be made now that the Philippines is back to ‘high-risk’ classification for Covid-19. We are in an extraordinary time. Kahit isa o dalawang linggong extension would mean more people can register to vote,” he said.
Outside of extending voter’s registration, Pangilinan recommends to add more satellite registration sites and extend registration hours to weekends to make it more accessible.
“We recognize Comelec’s many efforts to already accommodate the pandemic, and we believe this extension would help them too. It can give all of us more time to work around pandemic restrictions and ensure more can register safely and efficiently,” he said.
As of June, the Comelec said that their 4 million projected new voters for 2022 has already been reached and exceeded, with a total so far of 60 million registered voters.
Comelec remains confident that there will be a sizeable turnout of voters come 2022 despite the pandemic.
Several surveys, however, show that Filipinos are unwilling to vote if Covid-19 cases remain high.
In recognition of these challenges, Pangilinan also expresses support for election reform measures such as holding two-day elections and allowing early voting for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
“We have to adapt and make sure that people are given more options so that they can exercise their right to vote. Kailangan tayong mag-adjust,” he said.
In a Senate hearing last February, the Philippine Statistics Authority said that the estimated voting population by 2022 is 73.3 million.
With Comelec 60 million registered voters as of June, there are still 13.3 million potential voters that are yet to register.
Voters registration ends on September 30, 2021.