BAGUIO CITY – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) disclosed that there are more or less twelve thousand new voters that will be added to the existing list of voters of the city for the upcoming May 13, 2019 mid-term elections.
City Election Officer Atty. John Paul Martin said the final list of voters will only be available by the first week of November after the local Election Registration Board (ERB) shall have confirmed those new voters and those that will be deactivated because of their alleged failure to vote twice in two successive elections.
He predicted that the number of registered voters in the city could go as high as 165,000 and as low as 160,000 depending on the outcome of the confirmation of the ERB which is scheduled to meet anytime after the list of new registrants have been posted for validation purposes.
The Comelec official explained that the 12,000 new registrants were recorded by the poll body during the 3-month registration period from July to September, the last schedule of registration prior to the conduct of the May 2019 mid-term elections.
According to him, the local Comelec office was criticized for having ordered the closure of registration at around 12:30 pm on September 29, 2018 because of the influx of registrants that warranted him to come out with the decision and true enough, the registration was completed only round 6 pm.
If he continued to accept new registrants until the pm deadline, Martin explained that the poll body might have completed the documentation of the registration beyond midnight because of the huge number of individuals that flocked to the Comelec on the last day to register.
He pointed out that it is high time that people be taught not to do things at the last minute to avoid being left out and to register as soon as the poll body announces registration dates to avoid unnecessary overcrowding in the different Comelec offices nationwide.
Martin stated that the local Comelec office will embark on an aggressive voters education campaign and legal assistance during the election period so that voters will be aware of their rights and privileges and for them to know whom to vote on election day.
The Comelec is now preparing to accept certificates of candidacy (COCs) of interested individuals aspiring for the different elected positions in the local level during the scheduled fling dates on October 11-17, 2018 wherein the filing period will only be done during week days from 8 am to 5 pm.
The ERB is empowered to approve the names of the new registrants and the inclusion of their names in the voter’s list as well as approve the removal of the names of registered voters from the list because of alleged death and their failure to vote twice in successive elections.
By Dexter A. See