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Comelec: Some registrants may not be able to vote

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Not all those who braved the long lines to register are eligible to vote in the coming May 2016 polls, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) clarified yesterday.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez explained that the filing of an application form of registration (AFR) does not automatically make one a registered voter because it still has to go through a tedious process before the names can be registered in the official list of voters.

“Many have (filed) and they think they are already registered voters. But, technically speaking, they are not because they have to pass through the evaluation of the Election Registration Board (ERB),” Jimenez pointed out.

Only those who have been approved by the ERB are considered eligible to vote next year.

According to Jimenez, each city and municipality has its own ERB composed of the election officer, a public school official, and the local civil registrar. The ERB gives opportunities to anyone who is interested to challenge the validity of the AFRs filed before the Comelec.

“If there is no petition filed against the AFRs, then chances are the application will be immediately approved by the board,” Jimenez said.

A petition to question the validity of the AFRs can be filed before the different ERB until Jan. 29, 2016. The ERB could reject an application for registration based on questions of residency and citizenship of the applicants.

To be able to vote in next year’s elections, Jimenez said, an applicant, aside from securing the ERB approval, must have also gone through the Automated Fingerprints Identification System (AFIS), which allows Comelec to cross-match the biometrics data registrations of voters in a bid to eliminate double and multiple registrants.

All the ERB in the country have until Feb. 4, 2016 to conduct hearings and certify the list of voters.

The Comelec is set to come out with a certified list of voters by Feb. 9, 2016. Over 53 million registered voters are expected to participate in the May 2016 elections.

ACIRC AUTOMATED FINGERPRINTS IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM COMELEC ELECTION REGISTRATION BOARD ERB FEB FILED JAMES JIMENEZ JAN JIMENEZ VOTERS
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