Why you need to visit your local COMELEC office

It does not matter what kind of voter you are – new voter, old voter, disenfranchised voter, or a voter needing changes or corrections to voter details. Read on. This is for you.

The 2013 elections may seem like a very long way off but between then and now, if you have a few spare hours, hop on over to your local Commission on Elections (COMELEC) office if you fall under any of several categories and register or validate your voter information.

Based on Resolution No. 9149 as amended by Resolution 9168, COMELEC has been mandated to conduct voter registration from May 3, 2011 till October 31, 2012. COMELEC offices will be open from Mondays to Saturdays, 8am to 5pm. This should be more than ample time for everyone to get their voter registrations in order.

Who need to visit the COMELEC office?

  1. Those who need to transfer records – for those who have transferred residences
  2. Those who need to reactivate registration records
  3. Those who need to change name – like married women and court-approved name changes
  4. Those whose voter information need correcting – like wrong or misspelled names, wrong birth date and other typographical errors
  5. Those who just want to validate their registration records – those who have no biometrics records, those who want to make sure their registrations have not been deactivated, and those who just want to ensure they are still registered voters.

Only those falling under number 1 above are considered NEW VOTERS.

For those falling under numbers 2 to 6, you NEED NOT REGISTER AS NEW VOTER.

What are the procedures for NEW VOTERS?

COMELEC has prepared a series of slides that are easy for new voters to follow:

Why do old voters have to visit COMELEC office too?

One, there’s a bill pending in Congress to eventually make biometrics mandatory in order to exercise the right to vote. If, like me, you have been a long-time voter (i.e. voting before 2004), the likelihood is that you do not have biometrics on record with COMELEC. Once this biometrics bill is passed into law – NO BIOMETRICS, NO VOTING.

Two, women who married and need change of last name, those whose names have been changed by court order, voters who have changed residence, and voters whose voter information contain erroneous information also need to have these changed/corrected as soon as possible so that the correct information can be included in the voter’s ID.

What do I need to bring when I go to the COMELEC office?

Here are the items you need to bring to your local COMELEC office:

  1. Married women – marriage certificate
  2. Court-changed names – proof of court’s decision
  3. Residence transfer – none. Simply ask that your registration records be transferred from your old residence to the new one.
  4. Deactivated voters – none. Simply ask that your records be reactivated.
  5. For corrections – just bring proof to justify the corrections.

My biometrics were already taken. WHERE IS MY VOTER’S ID?

Let’s understand the process first.

Voter applications come from all parts of the country. But printing is only done in ONE location – the COMELEC Main Office. This causes what is referred to as the “funnel effect” (large mouth, small neck).

COMELEC identifies 2 chokepoints:

  1. Printing congestion
  2. ID claiming process

Although production of voter IDs is ongoing, the volume of applications, together with the fact that finished voter IDs need to be sent back to local COMELEC offices for claiming by the applicant voter, takes time.

According to COMELEC spokesperson, James Jimenez, the turnaround time is around a year from the time your biometrics are obtained to when it’s available for claiming for the following reasons: 1) Election Registration Board (ERB) hearings are done quarterly so new applicants get approved every 3 months only. 2) The fact that there is only one printing facility creates that funnel effect.

If you had registered at least a year ago and had your biometrics taken, it’s high time you return to your COMELEC office and check. For all you know, your voter’s ID is already there, waiting to be claimed.

Act early!

It still remains to be seen if biometrics-based voters’ IDs will be mandatory come 2013. The speed with which such IDs are processed and claimed will have a bearing as to whether it can be implemented by May 2013 elections. But knowing the Filipino propensity to postpone things till the last minute, Blog Watch is making this appeal to all to register, correct or validate their records early to avoid the last-minute long queues.

This one simple act ensures that you have a voice and can exercise your right of suffrage in the next national and local elections.

For more information and updates, visit the mycomelect.tv website.  (Update: Dead link)


Photos cropped from “Magparehistro Para Makaboto” presentation, courtesy of COMELEC Spokesperson James Jimenez.