The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) disclosed that will be releasing the list of areas with double or multiple registrants for the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections on October 30, 2023 as part of the efforts to delist them from the final list of voters allowed to cast their votes during the said political exercise.
Chairman George Erwin Garcia said that based on the poll body’s automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS), there are already 400,000 to 500,000 double or multiple registrants uncovered in various places around the country.
He claimed that the double or multiple registrants will be delisted from the list of voters after they will be afforded due process aside from the filing of appropriate charges against them as a lesson for all.
The poll official pointed out that once the double or multiple registrants are validated through the matching that will be done, the Comelec will be ordering the convening of the concerned election registration boards (ERBs) where the double or multiple registrants have been discovered to process the delisting of these from the list of voters.
For the upcoming October barangay and SK elections, there are more than 68 million registered voters who are qualified to cast their votes for the barangay elections while there are 25 million who are registered SK voters.
Garcia asserted that Comelec has the biggest database among government agencies that is why it will take some time to match the fingerprints of voters with the ones who are registering as new voters and those that are transferring their voting centers but they are able to uncover double or multiple registrants given a certain period of time to do the said matching.
He stipulated that the decision to approve or disapprove the registration of a voter does not solely lie with the Comelec because the ERBs are composed of the concerned Comelec official as chairperson with the local civil registrar and the schools division superintendent as members where their decision are collegial in nature.
According to him, the delisting of the double or multiple registrants will reduce to close to 92 million voters for the barangay and SK elections although the poll body was able to print an additional 1.5 million ballots to cover those who registered from December 12, 2022 to January 31, 2023 or the period of extension granted by the poll body to allow more qualified voters to register and exercise their right of suffrage during the upcoming elections.
Double or multiple registration happens when a voter is registered in more than one polling precinct due to his or her failure to transfer his or her earlier registration from the original precinct where he or she was registered to the place where he or she intends to vote in the upcoming elections.
Garcia underscored that the poll body will not hesitate to file the appropriate charges against the double or multiple registrations because the said number is alarming compared to the number of double or multiple registrants in the previous political exercises that had been conducted over the past several years.