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49M voters exceed Comelec’s forecast on turnout

Posted on: December 14, 2009

49M voters exceed Comelec’s forecast on turnout

INQUIRER.net
First Posted 22:47:00 12/11/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Friday over 49 million voters have registered for the 2010 elections—up by two million from the turnout forecast by the agency months ago.

Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal told Inquirer .net that 49, 225,089 Filipinos in the country and abroad have registered for next year’s national and local elections—up from 45.029 million registered voters in 2007 and 43.5 million in 2004.

The figure, however, is subject to change, because 22 municipalities and cities in different regions and several consulates abroad have yet to submit registration reports for the period of October 1 to November 3, which was heard in Election Registration Board (ERB) trials this month, said Larrazabal.

“The 49 million voters is over our target although this is not yet final. We expect it to rise by a bit more as we await 22 more municipalities and cities to submit their reports for consolidation,” said Larrazabal in an interview.

The poll official declined to specify how many in the 49 million registrants were new voters and overseas absentee voters since other data have yet to be submitted for consolidation.

Larrazabal was optimistic they can meet the three-million mark for new voters since based on ERB hearings last August, about 2.736 million first-time voters have already registered.

In a separate interview, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the high registration turnout could be due to Filipinos’ high interest to vote in presidential elections and the poll automation technology to be implemented nationwide as well as a positive response to the “intense registration drives” held in Comelec offices and out-of-office or satellite enlistment areas like schools, shopping malls and barangay (village) covered courts nationwide.

“Every presidential elections, we see the increase in the number of people who register—from new voters to those who want to reactivate or update their records. On average however, only 80 to 85 percent of the total number of registered voters cast their votes on Election Day. We hope in 2010 we could also see an improvement on that [number of registered voters who would cast ballots],” said Jimenez.

Detainees included
Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said the registration turnout was also historic as it included so far 12,500 detainees, who would cast their votes for the first time since they have been incarcerated.

“The rate of our detainee registration at over 12,400 is very encouraging, considering this is the first time in Comelec history and the figures only account for the period between August to September 7. We are still awaiting the final data from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology but this is already a very encouraging figure which could dictate or affect who will win in local elections,” Sarmiento told Inquirer.net.

Meanwhile, Comelec Election Barangay Affairs Department director Teopisto Elnas said that between December 2008 and June this year, the Comelec has delisted 6.159 million voters from the computerized voters’ list mainly due to failure to vote in two elections and death.

For next year’s elections, Comelec trimmed 308,000 polling precincts to around 74,000 clustered precincts, which would have one poll machine each to automate the voting for up to 1,000 voters on Election Day. Comelec intends to deploy 240,000 teachers who will man the precincts as board of election inspectors, Jimenez added.

Jimenez said close to 18,000 national and local positions—including one president and vice president, 12 senators and 270 posts at the House of Representatives—are up for grabs in the 2010 elections.

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