Comelec mulls voiding voter list

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star
Comelec mulls voiding voter list
Residents flock to Felipe Calderon Elementary School to vote for the special election in Tanza, Cavite on February 25, 2023.
STAR / Ernie Penaredondo

MANILA, Philippines — To totally get rid of ghost voters and multiple registrants, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is seeking the nullification of the national voters’ list.

Comelec Chairman George Garcia called on legislators to annul entirely the list of voters, including those staying abroad, as he stressed the need “to start from zero” in order to improve the current system.

“Our oldest biometrics record is from 2003. How do you countercheck the finger print of one against the 68 million that we have right now,”
 Garcia said in English and Filipino at a press conference on July 11.

“If we can annul the list of voters and conduct a general registration of voters in preparation for the 2028 elections, the database of the Comelec will be updated as well,” Garcia explained.

Considering that the list is already two decades old, Garcia admitted that it is difficult to verify the identity of the voters.

Fortunately, Garcia said the present system is still working and the Comelec is still able to verify 491,000 multiple registrants.

As of July 10, Comelec has deleted 415,433 multiple registrants, with the National Capital Region (NCR) accounting for most of them.

But Garcia insisted there is still a need to change the database of the Commission and annul the list of voters. “We need to annul the list of voters, and have even four days of voters registration so it could be back to zero in preparation for 2028 elections,” he added.

Garcia said the nullification and conduct of general registration will require the passage of a law and budget to be approved by Congress.

The first time the Comelec conducted a general registration was in 2003.

Overseas voters

The Comelec is looking to lure as many as four million Filipinos overseas to participate in the 2025 national elections with the adoption of internet voting.

“Presently we are conducting overseas registration and we are hoping (the number of registered voters) will shoot up to 2 to 4 million if we are able to proceed with internet voting for 2025,” Garcia said yesterday.

He noted that in the 2022 national and local elections, the Comelec spent P417 million for overseas absentee voting (OAV), but still many failed to cast their votes.

Due to the low turnout in OAV, Garcia said the Commission opted to venture into other modes of voting. The law authorizes the Comelec to use other modes of voting and so the members of the Commission adopted a policy to proceed with internet voting.

Considering that Filipinos are top users of the internet and texting, Garcia said the Comelec is hoping more Filipinos abroad can avail of the technology in exercising their right to vote.

As Comelec conducted an internet voting demonstration yesterday, the Comelec chief expressed hope that more technology providers and suppliers will join in the bidding and other processes of the poll body.

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