Comelec expects 23-M voter turnout for long-delayed SK elections

Comelec expects 23-M voter turnout for long-delayed SK elections
During a public hearing at the Senate, Marcos said there is a need to postpone the polls in May 2020 to prevent a similar experience in May 2010, in which some voters raised several complaints.

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections said it is expecting a voter turnout of 23 million in this year’s Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) or youth council elections, which will be held in December.

“‘Yung 23 million na ‘yan, malinaw ko lang hindi lahat bago kasi sa ating batas, ang makakaboto sa SK elections ay mula 15 years old hanggang 30 years old,” Comelec acting spokesman John Rex Laudiangco told state television on Tuesday.

(The 23 million voters, I have to clarify that it will not only cover newly registered voters because under the law, those who may cast their vote for SK elections are individuals aged 15 years old to 30 years old.)

Based on a report from the poll body, in 2018, the SK elections saw a 13.2 million turnout out of the 20 million youth voters. Meanwhile, 39.977 million out of the 57 million registered regular voters participated in the barangay elections.

Registration for the December 5 barangay and SK polls kicked off on Monday and will be open to applicants until July 23. The SK and local village or barangay elections were postponed after being originally slated for May 2020.

RELATED: Ever Again: Alumni of Marcos-era Kabataang Barangay hopeful for revival

Former president Rodrigo Duterte asked lawmakers in 2019 to postpone the polls to give elected officials to complete their projects. The current officials have held their posts for five years, instead of the regular three-year term.

The SK or the youth council was previously criticized for being an avenue for political dynasties to further gain power and for allowing the youth to be exposed to corruption.

On Tuesday, the poll body noted that it has a limited time to prepare for the elections in December, since the country also just held its national and local elections in May, so the registration period will be done within three weeks to comply with the allowed timetable provided by law.

The Comelec is expecting another 300,000 to 400,000 regular voters to register, on top of the 65-million registered voters seen in the May polls.

Voters aged 15 to 17 years old will only get a ballot specifically for the SK elections, while those aged 18 to 10 years old will get ballots for both the SK elections and the regular barangay elections.

Meanwhile, voters who are older than 31 years old will only get a ballot for the barangay elections. — Kaycee Valmonte





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