#MagpaRehistroKa: COMELEC Registration 2020 Guide for Voters

Published: September 11, 2020 | Updated: September 18, 2020 | Posted by: Venus Zoleta | Government Services


Comelec Registration 2020 Guide | Moneymax

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.

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?

comelec registration 2020 - voter's registration

You’re qualified to register as a voter in the Philippines if you meet all these eligibility requirements:

  • Filipino citizen who has never registered with COMELEC
  • At least 18 years old on or before the upcoming election on May 9, 2022
  • At least 15 but not older than 30 years old for Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections
  • Living in the Philippines for at least one year and in the city or municipality where you intend to vote for at least six months before an election

When is the COMELEC Registration?

Voter’s registration runs only several months before an election. So be aware of the voter’s registration schedule to avoid missing the deadline.

COMELEC Registration Period

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.

COMELEC Registration Schedule 2020

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[1], 3 p.m. is the cut-off time for receiving application forms.

What to Do Before Registration

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.

1. Prepare the COMELEC Registration Requirements

For first-time voters, the COMELEC requires at least one of the following valid IDs and a photocopy:

  • Driver’s license
  • IBP ID
  • NBI clearance
  • Passport
  • Postal ID
  • PRC ID
  • PWD ID
  • School ID or library card (for students)
  • Senior Citizen ID
  • SSS/GSIS ID/UMID
  • Certificate of Confirmation from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
  • Any other valid ID with your photo and signature (except for cedula, police clearance, and barangay clearance/certificate)

Additional requirement: Original and photocopy of birth certificate (for applicants turning 18 years old on the upcoming election day)

Tips:

  • Bring more than one valid ID. It’s better 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 back-ups just in case.
  • 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.

Read more: Valid IDs in the Philippines You Need to Have

2. Download and Accomplish the Voter’s Registration Formcomelec registration 2020 - voter's registration form

The COMELEC recommends downloading the application forms from its website[2], 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 required for everyone applying for voter’s 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 website of COMELEC Spokesperson James Jimenez[3].

3. Book an Appointment with Your Local COMELEC Office

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.

4. Know the COVID-19 Safety Protocols in COMELEC Offices

comelec registration 2020 - safety protocols

Photo from COMELEC Facebook page

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.

  • 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).
  • No face mask and face shield, no registration. The COMELEC requires wearing a face mask and face shield at all times (except during photo-taking) inside the premises. It allows different types of face masks such as surgical masks, reusable masks, DIY cloth masks, and those made of indigenous fabric.
  • Use the foot bath and hand sanitizer at the entrance. Sanitizing your hands with alcohol is also a requirement 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.
  • Ensure physical distancing at all times. Observe at least a 2-meter distance from other people.
    Leave the COMELEC premises immediately after your registration.

COMELEC Registration 2020: How to Register as a Voter

Now that you know what you should do before you register, it’s equally important to learn what to do during your registration.

1. Go to the Local COMELEC Office

comelec registration 2020 - how to register comelec

Photo from COMELEC Facebook page

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[4].

2. Present the Voter’s Registration Requirements

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.

3. Have Your Biometrics Captured

Photo from COMELEC Facebook page

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. Wait for 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.

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.

Read more: National ID System in the Philippines: The Good and the Bad

COMELEC Registration 2020 for Overseas Voters

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.

COMELEC Registration Schedule and Venue for Overseas Filipinos

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.

COMELEC Registration Steps for Overseas Filipinos

1. Schedule an appointment through any of the following:

  • Office for Overseas Voting PH Facebook page (www.facebook.com/overseasvotingph): Click the Book Now button or send a private message.
  • Email: overseasvoting@comelec.gov.ph
  • Landline: (02) 8521-2952 / 8522-2251
  • Mobile: (0905) 034-5158 / (0951) 875-9882

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.

Read more: How to Get an OFW e-Card: Guide to OFW ID Card Application

Voter’s Registration 2020 FAQs

comelec registration 2020 - comelec online registration

Photo from We The Youth Vote Facebook page

1. Do we have COMELEC online registration?

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[5]. 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.

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 the “Application for Reactivation of Registration Record” option.

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, 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[6] 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.

4. How to verify my COMELEC registration status?

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[7].

The Precinct Finder online verification system allows you to access information on your registration records, such as the following:

  • Whether you’re already registered or not
  • Whether your registration record is active or deactivated
  • If your record has biometrics data
  • Your precinct number and polling center

If you can’t verify your voter’s registration status online, contact or visit your local COMELEC office.

5. How to 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 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.

6. How to 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 COMELEC requirements for every kind of registration update:

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.

Read more: Complete Guide to PSA Online Services in the Philippines

Final Thoughts

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!

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