Voter registration is the first step to exercising your right to vote for the next leaders who will shape our country’s economy, international relations, public health, and other critical national policies.
If you wish to vote in the upcoming elections, you have to know the requirements and process of COMELEC registration in the Philippines first. Once you're registered as a voter, it's equally important to know how to validate your registration records and how to find your precinct information.
Here’s a comprehensive guide on COMELEC registration, voter status verification, and other crucial information you need to know before participating in the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.
Quick note: Wondering when is the next barangay election in the Philippines? According to the 2022 barangay and SK elections postponement update from COMELEC, both are now scheduled on October 30, 2023.
What is Voter’s Registration?
Voter registration is the process in which a qualified voter files a sworn application before the election officer of the city or municipality where the applicant lives. Upon approval by the Election Registration Board, the applicant’s record is included in the book of voters.
It’s a requirement for any Filipino who wishes to join in choosing the next public officials in the Philippine elections, as well as those who plan to run for public office.
Who Can Register as a Voter in the Philippines?
You’re qualified to register as a voter in the Philippines if you meet the following barangay and SK voter's registration requirements.
Eligibility Requirements for Regular Voters
- Filipino citizen who has never registered with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC)
- At least 18 years old on or before the upcoming elections
- Living in the Philippines for at least one year
- For barangay elections: Living in the barangay where they intend to vote for not less than six months prior to election day
Eligibility Requirements for Sangguniang Kabataan Voters
- Filipino citizen who has never registered with the COMELEC
- At least 15 but not older than 30 years old on or before the SK Elections
- Living in the barangay for not less than six months prior to election day
When is the COMELEC Registration for the 2023 Elections?
All COMELEC registration services, including reactivation and transfer of voter's records, are processed during the voter registration period. Voter’s registration runs only for a limited period before an election. So be aware of the COMELEC registration schedule to avoid missing the deadline.
When is the Voter’s Registration 2023?
Voter’s registration in the Philippines for the 2023 Barangay and SK elections runs until January 31, 2023, Mondays to Saturdays, including holidays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This schedule for first-time voters also applies to other types of applications, including the following:
- Transfer of registration records
- Reactivation of registration records
- Change/corrections of entries in the registration records
- Transfer of registration records from overseas voting to local
Since the COMELEC registration 2023 runs until the end of January 2023 only, it's best to register as early as possible. Avoid the long lines during the last few days of the voter registration period.
What to Do Before Your Voter's Registration
Complete your registration as quickly as possible to avoid long lines and crowds. Make sure to accomplish these three things before heading to the COMELEC office.
1. Prepare the COMELEC Registration Requirements
What are the requirements for voter's registration, you might ask? For first-time voters, COMELEC registration requirements include at least one of the following valid IDs and a photocopy:
- National ID/PhilSys ID
- Driver’s license
- SSS ID/GSIS ID/UMID
- IBP ID
- NBI clearance
- Postal ID
- PRC ID
- PWD ID
- Barangay ID/Certification with photo
- Senior Citizen ID
- Company ID or Employee ID
- Student ID or library card signed by the school authority
- Certificate of Confirmation from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
- Any other valid ID with your photo and signature (except for cedula and police clearance)
Additional requirements for COMELEC registration: Original and photocopy of birth certificate (for applicants turning 18 years old on the upcoming election day)
- Bring more than one valid ID. It’s best to bring as many valid IDs as you have even if you only need one. If the ID you present turns out to be unacceptable, you have backups.
- Present only a valid ID that shows your current address. If the address on your ID is in a different location than the city or municipality where you’re applying, the officer will ask for another ID that indicates your updated address. If you don’t have one, your application will be denied.
2. Download and Accomplish the Voter's Registration Form
The COMELEC recommends downloading the application forms from its website, printing them, and filling them out manually at home before your registration.
However, don’t put your signature and thumb marks in advance. The COMELEC requires doing this only in front of the election officer during voter’s registration.
COMELEC Registration Form Guidelines
- Click the CEF-1 link to download the voter’s registration form. Print it on a long bond paper (8.5″ x 13″). A4 or legal-size paper is not allowed.
- Annex B (Supplementary Data Form) is for PWDs, senior citizens with disabilities, indigenous people, applicants who can’t read or write, or those who will assist such voters. Download this form only if it’s applicable to you.
- Completing the Coronavirus Self Declaration Form is also a requirement for COMELEC registration. It’s best to download and fill it out before you register.
- If you can’t access the voter’s registration forms when the COMELEC website is down, you can download them from the #MagpaRehistroKa website.
3. Know the COVID-19 Safety Protocols in COMELEC Offices
Even if restrictions have eased, make sure to follow these additional steps to prevent COVID-19 transmission in COMELEC offices:
- Don’t proceed if you have flu-like symptoms. Applicants with possible COVID-19 symptoms cannot enter COMELEC premises. Go to the COMELEC once you are well and have self-isolated for at least 14 days.
- Bring your own pen. Black or blue ink will do.
- Wear a face mask. You may not be required to wear a face mask indoors anymore, but all the same, it's better to be safe.
- Use hand sanitizer. Sanitize your hands before and after your biometrics capture.
- Use the express lane if you’re a senior citizen, PWD, pregnant woman, or 18 to 20 years old.
The COMELEC Registration Process: How to Register as a Voter in the Philippines
Now that you know what you should do before you register, it’s equally important to learn what to do during your voter's registration.
1. Go to the Local COMELEC Office
The COMELEC requires Filipinos to personally file their application for voter’s registration at the Office of the Election Officer or local COMELEC office in the district, city, or municipality where they currently live. Typically, the office is located within or near your city or municipal hall.
2. Present the Requirements for Voter's Registration
At the COMELEC office, find the queue for submitting the requirements for voter’s registration. The election officer will check your ID to verify your identity, place of residence, and registration status on the government agency’s database.
Also, submit your accomplished voter’s registration application forms to the designated officer who will check them for completeness of the information.
3. Have Your Biometrics Captured
If your application form is good to go, you’ll be asked to proceed to the biometrics capture area. Line up at the first queue to have your photo taken. Just look straight at the webcam until the flash appears. You may ask the operator to show you your picture, so you can check if it’s captured correctly.
Next, go to the fingerprints capture. On the fingerprint scanner, place your right and left thumbs and index fingers one at a time. The operator will guide you on how to do it properly.
Lastly, go to the queue for the signature capture. Simply sign on the signature pad, similar to how you sign on paper. Check the computer monitor to see if you’ve signed correctly. You may repeat this step if your signature was not captured right the first time.
4. Receive Your Acknowledgment Receipt
When you’re done with your biometrics capture, you’ll be requested to write down your name and sign on a logbook. You’ll then be issued an acknowledgment receipt.
At this point, you're not a registered voter yet. Your application will undergo approval by the Election Registration Board (ERB) during its scheduled quarterly hearing. After the ERB hearing, your information will be recorded in the book of voters of your district, city, or municipality. Only then can you be considered a registered voter.
COMELEC Registration FAQs
1. Can I apply for COMELEC registration online?
As of this writing, the COMELEC is not yet implementing a full online registration system for the elections. The poll body requires voters to register personally at the Office of the Election Officer.
2. How often should I register as a voter?
Voter’s registration application is permanent and done only once. If you’re already a registered voter, you don’t have to register again each time there’s an upcoming election.
However, you need to apply for reactivation of your COMELEC registration record if you failed to vote in two consecutive regular elections (which puts you in a deactivated voter’s registration application status). In the COMELEC registration form, select "Application for Reactivation of Registration Record.”
3. What is COMELEC satellite registration?
Satellite registration is a set of voter’s registration activities conducted at special satellite registration offices in every barangay in the Philippines. The special satellite office for COMELEC registration could be a barangay hall, commercial establishment, school, university, covered court, gymnasium, or a public place within the city or town. As such, COMELEC satellite registration ensures that more Filipinos will register as voters.
The complete list of malls will be posted on COMELEC's official Facebook page and Twitter account, so make sure to check it for announcements.
4. Does COMELEC accept police clearance or cedula as a voter registration requirement?
No. Police clearance and cedula (or community tax certificate) are not honored as valid IDs for COMELEC registration.
If you don't have any other available valid IDs, you can secure an ID that is easy and quick to get, such as the Postal ID. You may refer to this Postal ID application guide.
5. How do I check my registration status if the COMELEC Precinct Finder is not working?
Can’t verify your voter’s registration status online?
You'll have to do your voter status verification in person or via email. Contact or visit your local COMELEC office or the Office for Overseas Voting (for OFWs and other Filipinos based abroad) via firstname.lastname@example.org. Present a valid ID and tell the COMELEC officer that you want to verify your voter status.
Alternatively, you may call COMELEC's Information Technology Department at (02) 8527-9365 or 8526-7769 to verify your voter registration status.
6. How do I transfer my COMELEC registration?
When you move to a different location, you should apply for the transfer of your registration record at the local COMELEC office in your new place of residence. In doing so, you won’t have to travel far to get to your former city or town every election period.
The requirements for the transfer of voters registration records are the same as those for new voter's registration. Just be sure that the valid ID you present indicates your new address. Otherwise, a COMELEC representative will ask you to provide other supporting documents that prove your current residence.
7. How do I update my COMELEC registration?
To request a correction or an update of your voter’s information, you have to submit certain documents as proof.
Here are the requirements for registration in COMELEC if you need to update your registration information:
For correction of name, date, and place of birth – Original and photocopy of birth certificate
For changing civil status and change of name due to marriage/annulment – Any original or certified true copy of the following:
- Marriage contract
- Certification by the solemnizing officer
- Court order with a certificate of finality (in case of annulment)
- Order by the Civil Registrar or Consul General
On the voter’s registration form, select the Application for Change of Name/Correction of Entries in the Voter’s Registration Record.
The application procedure for updating voter’s records is the same as that of new registration.
For transfer of voter’s registration - Original and photocopy of valid ID with proof of residence in your new address
8. How can deactivated voters reactivate their status online?
Deactivated voters, or those who have failed to vote in two consecutive elections, especially senior citizens and individuals with special needs, can apply for COMELEC reactivation online.
To apply for reactivation of your voter registration, send your application to the official email address of the local COMELEC office in your locality.
Note: Online reactivation is available only to individuals who already have existing biometrics records with the COMELEC. Those who still do not have them need to personally appear before a COMELEC office to have their biometrics taken.
Alternatively, you can request your voter registration reactivation at the local COMELEC office. Simply submit the following COMELEC reactivation requirements:
- Original and photocopy of at least one valid ID (with signature and valid address)
- Accomplished Health Declaration Form
- Three copies of accomplished CEF-1 form (When filling out this COMELEC form, make sure to tick "Application for Reactivation of Registration Record.")
9. How do I get a voter's ID in the Philippines this 2023?
Don’t expect the voter’s ID to be issued when you're done with your COMELEC registration procedure, as had been the practice in the past. The COMELEC has stopped printing and issuing this ID since 2012 to give way to the national ID system.
If you registered from 2012 to 2021, you won't be given a voter's ID. Instead, you can apply for a Voter's Certification that certifies your being a registered voter in the Philippines. This document is accepted in lieu of the voter's ID for transactions that require a valid ID, such as passport application.
However, if you registered before 2012, you can claim your voter's ID at the local COMELEC office or Office of the Election Officer where you registered.
10. How do I get a voter's certification in the Philippines?
You're qualified to apply for a voter's certification only when your COMELEC registration application has been approved by the Election Registration Board. If you're not a registered voter yet or you've just filed your registration to the COMELEC, you'll have to wait until you're registered before you secure a voter's certification.
You may request a voter's certification at the local COMELEC office where you're registered or the COMELEC Main Office in Intramuros, Manila (National Central File Division in FEMII Building, Extension Cabildo St. corner A. Soriano Ave.).
Simply present a valid ID, submit a photocopy of it, and pay the ₱75 fee.
The voter's certification fee is free of charge if you belong to any of the following groups:
- Senior citizens
- Solo parents
- Persons with disability (PWDs)
- Members of indigenous peoples (IPs) and Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs)
Note that personal appearance at the COMELEC office is a requirement for voter's certification applications. There is no way to get this document online.
If you can't personally apply for a voter's certification, you may have your authorized representative do it on your behalf. The voter's certification requirements for authorized representatives are an authorization letter and original and photocopy of the valid ID of both the voter and representative.
11. Do I need to present a voter's ID or voter's certification to vote?
There's no need for a voter's ID, voter's certification, or any valid ID to vote, according to COMELEC. But it's still advisable to bring at least one government-issued ID in case the election officer needs to verify your identity.
Register as early as you can so you can vote in the upcoming elections. Too often, we overlook COMELEC registration because we’re too busy to make time for it. But it’s actually a simple process. Just avoid doing it on the last day of registration when local COMELEC offices get jam-packed with last-minute applicants.
To ask questions and learn more about voter’s registration, you may join the Ask COMELEC Facebook group. Register and vote wisely!
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