Published: September 11, 2020 | Updated: October 13, 2020 | Posted by: Venus Zoleta | Government Services
September 1 marks the start of Ber months, aka the Christmas season, in the Philippines. But many aren’t aware that it’s also the start of voter’s registration for the May 2022 elections. Before you get too busy with the holiday preps, don’t forget to fulfill your duty as a Filipino citizen. If you aren’t a voter yet, you need to register first with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).
Why bother to register? Voter’s 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.
#MagpaRehistroKa na! Here’s a quick guide to walk you through COMELEC registration 2020.
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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.
You’re qualified to register as a voter in the Philippines if you meet all these eligibility requirements:
Voter’s registration runs only several months before an election. So be aware of the voter’s registration schedule to avoid missing the deadline.
Voter’s registration in the Philippines for the May 2022 elections runs from September 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021. This means the COMELEC registration deadline is the end of September next year. Registration activities began in January this year, but got suspended in March due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Note that while voter’s registration is done nationwide, it’s still suspended in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or modified ECQ (MECQ). If you live in an ECQ or MECQ area, COMELEC registration in your city or province will resume when its status is downgraded to general community quarantine (GCQ) or modified GCQ (MGCQ). However, if your area goes back to ECQ or MECQ, voter’s registration will be suspended throughout its status.
You may register in the COMELEC from Tuesdays to Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (including holidays). Based on COMELEC Resolution No. 10674, 3 p.m. is the cut-off time for receiving application forms.
With the coronavirus risk still around, it’s very important to complete the voter’s registration as quickly as possible. Doing this helps you avoid long lines and crowds, lowering your risk of getting COVID-19.
To do that, make sure to accomplish these three things before heading to the COMELEC office for registration.
For first-time voters, the COMELEC requires at least one of the following valid IDs and a photocopy:
Additional requirement: Original and photocopy of birth certificate (for applicants turning 18 years old on the upcoming election day)
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.
As part of its efforts to contain the COVID-19 spread, the COMELEC is processing only a limited number of transactions per day. To make sure your trip to the COMELEC won’t turn to waste, contact your local COMELEC office to set an appointment for your voter’s registration.
If there’s no appointment system in the COMELEC office where you’re supposed to register, come as early as possible so that you can be accommodated within the registration hours.
The COMELEC registration 2020 is quite different from those done in the past years. Applicants have to follow additional steps to prevent COVID-19 transmission in COMELEC offices.
So that you’ll come fully prepared, keep in mind these safety protocols for voter’s registration.
Now that you know what you should do before you register, it’s equally important to learn what to do during your registration.
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 city or municipality where they currently live. Typically, the office is located within or near your city or municipal hall.
If you don’t know where your local COMELEC office is, you may find it through the online directory on the COMELEC website. Alternatively, if you live in Metro Manila, check out this voter’s registration center guide.
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 voter’s registration status on the government agency’s database.
Also, submit your accomplished voter’s registration application forms to the designated officer, who will check it for completeness of the information.
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.
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.
Don’t expect the voter’s ID to be issued, as had been the practice in the past. The COMELEC has stopped issuing this ID to give way to the national ID system.
At this point, you are 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.
Voter’s registration for Filipinos living and/or working abroad is done differently from those based in the Philippines. Here’s how to register with the COMELEC if you’re an OFW, immigrant, dual citizen, or abroad during the overseas voting from April 9 to May 9, 2022.
The registration period for overseas voters is similar to those in the Philippines (September 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021). However, applications for transfer of voter’s registration are accepted only until August 31, 2021.
Overseas Filipinos can apply for voter’s registration from Mondays to Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through the Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) located at the COMELEC Main Office (G/F Palacio del Gobernador Bldg., Gen. Luna cor. A. Soriano Ave., Intramuros, Manila).
Those who are abroad during the entire voter’s registration period may check with the nearest Philippine embassy or consulate for the overseas voter’s registration schedule.
1. Schedule an appointment through any of the following:
2. The OVOF staff will coordinate with you about your appointment request and refer you to the proper COMELEC registration form.
3. Download and fill out the Overseas Voting Form 1 (OVF 1). Leave the Part III blank, as you’ll have to accomplish this portion in front of a COMELEC officer during your registration.
4. Send your accomplished form to the OVOF via email or Facebook private message.
5. Wait for a confirmation notice from OFOV. You’ll receive an appointment confirmation slip (ACS) containing the transaction details, checklist, and instructions for COMELEC registration.
6. On your appointment day, arrive at the COMELEC main office 30 minutes before your scheduled time.
7. Present a printout or screenshot of your ACS to the security officer in the building.
8. Fill out the Health Declaration Form.
9. Present your original passport (or Seaman’s Book for sea-based OFWs) to the COMELEC representative.
10. Undergo biometrics capture. Once done, you will receive an acknowledgment receipt.
Note: You won’t be allowed to register if you don’t have a confirmed appointment, face mask, and face shield. For your safety, follow the COVID-19 protocols being implemented by the COMELEC.
As of this writing, the COMELEC is not yet implementing an online registration system for the May 2022 elections.
Some COMELEC officials have raised the possibility of online registration in the future, though. The commission en banc approved in April 2020 the revival of the COMELEC iRehistro online voter registration system, which was launched back in 2014 for the May 2016 elections.
COMELEC Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said she was hoping the implementation of the iRehistro project would start during the current registration period. According to her, COMELEC iRehistro could cut the registration processing time by half. However, personal appearance at the registration center is still a requirement for the biometrics capture.
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 the “Application for Reactivation of Registration Record” option.
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, or a public place within the city or town. As such, COMELEC satellite registration ensures that more Filipinos will register as voters.
However, it’s not happening in most parts of the country for now. The COMELEC has suspended the satellite registration of voters until further notice due to COVID-19. Only cities and municipalities with zero suspect, probable, and confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days may be allowed to conduct COMELEC satellite registration.
You can check the status of your voter’s registration online through the COMELEC website’s Precinct Finder facility or Post Finder for overseas voters.
The Precinct Finder online verification system allows you to access information on your registration records, such as the following:
If you can’t verify your voter’s registration status online, contact or visit your local COMELEC office.
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 transfer of voters registration records are the same as those for new 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. Also, when filling out the COMELEC registration form, select the Application for Transfer of Registration Record option.
To request a correction or an update of your voter’s information, you have to submit certain documents as proof.
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:
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.
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 at www.facebook.com/groups/AskCOMELEC. Register and vote wisely!