A coalition of youth organizations and student councils on Thursday, Aug. 12, asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to extend voters’ registration by at least one month in areas affected by coronavirus-related lockdowns.
(MB file photo)
In a statement, First Time Voters Network said there could be as many as 13 million disenfranchised voters in the 2022 elections.
“Although the Comelec has set 395 calendar days for voter’s registration, it has not been maximized due to the temporary closures of the Office of Elections Officers (OEOs) and Satellite Registration Sites due to quarantine restrictions, routine disinfection, and other health and safety precautions,” First Time Voters Network stressed.
It added that the registration period in areas with high COVID-19 cases such as the National Capital Region, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Isabela, and Cagayan de Oro has been reduced by at least two months.
“The pandemic also affected the ease of registration. Although the registration is free, the cost of transportation and obtaining a valid ID has increased. In the midst of widespread unemployment, this extra expense is no joke especially for the majority of first-time voters who are not yet employed,” the group added.
First Time Voters Network also urged Comelec to extend registration hours and allow registration during weekends; provide simplified digital procedures for the revalidation of 6.3 million voters delisted by Comelec; and set clear guidelines that accommodate alternative but legitimate forms of identification for first-time voters especially students and out-of-school youth.
The Comelec has suspended voters’ registration in areas placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Registration is until Sept. 30.