Comelec reports low registration turnout despite extension
Posted December 29, 2009on:
By Anna Valmero
First Posted 17:05:00 12/28/2009
Filed Under: Politics, Elections, Eleksyon 2010
MANILA, Philippines—A Commission on Elections (Comelec) official said Monday the first three days of the extended voters’ registration nationwide had a low turnout but expects higher number of registrants between Monday and Tuesday.
“Based on anecdotal reports from Comelec field offices nationwide, there is low turnout,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez over a phone interview.
“We do not have the figures yet in the main office because we expect to receive the summary reports by January,” he added.
The low registration turnout can be attributed to the holiday season and the late decision of the Supreme Court approving the petition of Kabataan Rep. Mong Palatino to extend the enlistment for new voters, Jimenez said.
He added the “low turnout” during the additional five-day enlistment period set from December 21-23 and 28-29 may fall short of the “estimated one million new voters” who would register based on claims of Kabataan party that at least eight million of the 11 million youth in the country were unable to register due to “logistics and administrative issues in registration centers.”
“While we believe there is no need for the additional days for registration, we respect the Supreme Court decision to extend the registration because we would want to accommodate as many voters for the next year’s elections,” said Jimenez.
“We are calling out to all our first time voters who are at least 18 years old on or before next year’s elections to avail of the extended registration so they can cast their ballots and choose the next leaders of the country in May 2010,” he said.
Despite the extension of registration until January 9, Comelec would only allot five days for registration to make way for “administrative functions” such as posting of notice of Election Registration Board (ERB) hearing for voter applicants on January 4, filing of opposition on registrants until January 6 and hearing for approval and disapproval of applications on January 9.
Jimenez added the names of approved voters during the extended listing would be separated from the book of voters (BoVs) prepared and printed before the extension and would later be appended to BoVs their respective polling precincts.
The spokesman added that the Comelec allotted over a year for the registration including holidays and weekends between December 2008 and November 3 this year and approved 49, 225,089 voters in the country, including more than half a million absentee voters abroad for the May 2010 elections.
Comelec offices nationwide will accept first-time or new voters until Tuesday, between 8a.m. to 5p.m.