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Resumption of voters’ registration to gauge Comelec’s readiness for ‘22 polls – NAMFREL

For the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), the upcoming resumption of the registration of voters on September 1 will be an important indicator of how the Commission on Elections (Comelec) would handle the holding of the May 2022 polls amidst a pandemic.

(MANILA BULLETIN)

“Namfrel remains hopeful that starting with the registration, the Comelec would adopt processes that are efficient, cost effective, and have the utmost safety of Filipinos in mind, to invite confidence from the public and from polling staff that they would not be exposed to infection if they go out to vote or do their poll duties in 2022,” the poll watchdog group said in a statement on Tuesday.

On Saturday, the Comelec announced the resumption of voter registration next month except in areas under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) or Modified ECQ.

The poll body said it would implement anti-COVID precautions, like preventing symptomatic applicants from entering Comelec premises, ensuring physical distancing, requiring applicants to wear face masks and face shields, and encouraging applicants to bring their own pens.

It also encouraged applicants to download the application forms from www.comelec.gov.ph, and strongly recommended that downloaded forms be filled out before going to the COMELEC office for registration.

Namfrel, however, believes that the COMELEC could improve the upcoming registration process by making it a requirement to download and accomplish the forms, and for the applicants to bring their own writing materials, instead of being merely recommendations.

“The Comelec could also take the precautions even further, by exploring the possibility of digitally transforming the registration process, by allowing a voter registrant, using any electronic device like a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, to fill out a registration form online and submit the same electronically to the Comelec,” the group said.

To further prevent the crowding of people at Comelec offices, Namfrel urged the poll body to implement an online appointment system during the submission of requirements.

“As has been observed in previous registration activities at the Comelec offices or even in satellite registration locations, the Comelec can only accept a finite number of applications a day. An appointment system will help ensure that registrants would come to their respective Comelec offices only on the appointed day and time that they can be served,” said the group.

Namfrel added that an online appointment system would not be new to Filipinos, as this is the kind of system being used in securing appointments for processing of passports and NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) clearances, among others.

The poll watchdog group said it is currently drafting a set of further recommendations for lawmakers and election administrators to help ensure that Filipinos are amply protected every step of the way as the country enters another election cycle.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2020/08/19/resumption-of-voters-registration-to-gauge-comelecs-readiness-for-22-polls-namfrel/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=resumption-of-voters-registration-to-gauge-comelecs-readiness-for-22-polls-namfrel)

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