Comelec: One million new voters registered as of January

Comelec: One million new voters registered as of January
In this Sept. 1, 2020, photo, an elderly woman is assisted while registering to vote in Pasig City.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections has recorded one million new voters for the 2022 national and local elections.

But Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez that numbers barely breached the one million mark, as he noted that registration is going slowly due to protocols imposed to prevent the transmission of the novel coronavirus.

“As of January 7, we’ve reached the one million mark however things are still going very slowly mostly because the situation has not changed,” Jimenez said in the Tapatan sa Aristocrat forum on Monday morning.

Jimenez explained that the registration for new voters can only be done four days a week, since Fridays are reserved for disinfection of Comelec premises as part of health and safety protocols against COVID-19.

He pointed out that even if there are effective campaigns to encourage people to register, if the Comelec office can only handle a handful at a time, this can only lead to frustration.

Jimenez said they are expecting close to four million registration of new voters to be processed before the period ends in September.

“It’s becoming very crucial, very critical that we get a move on,” he added.

Jimenez said they are hoping the poll body can roll satellite registration events by end of January to boost the Comelec’s capacity to process registrations.

But the Comelec official assured that they will continue to “err on the side of caution,” especially with the report of the new and more infectious coronavirus strain detected in the country.

Voter registration resumed last January 4 and is set to continue until Sept. 30, 2021. — Kristine Joy Patag

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