Electronic registration of voters now available in Baguio

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BAGUIO CITY – Qualified voters for the May 2016 national elections can now easily register with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) following Friday’s launching of the electronic registration of voters in the Summer Capital in order to entice voters to have their biometrics taken and exercise their right to suffrage during the upcoming political exercise.

Comelec’s ‘i-rehistro’ project is aimed at enticing internet savy voters to register to avoid being dis-enfranchised during the upcoming automated elections next year.

Lawyer John Paul Martin, city election officer, said the electronic registration of voters will also help decongest the Comelec office from the long lines of voters wanting to have their biometrics taken and for first-time voters wanting to avail of the on-going registration period.

“The poll body is trying to explore every available opportunity to entice voters who were not able to have their biometrics taken and for first-time voters to register this yearly to avoid overcrowding during the deadline of registration this October,” Martin stressed.

Under the Comelec’s ‘I-rehistro’ project, voters are required to access the voters registration form in the website i-rehistro.com, fill up the required details, print the forms and make schedules with the Comelec office through the net, then submit the filled up forms with the Comelec and have their biometrics taken by the Comelec personnel.

According to Martin, the target of the electronic registration of voters are the young electorate so that they will be able to easily register and for them to exercise their right to suffrage during the May 2016 elections.

Of the 9.6 million voters without biometrics nationwide, some 150,000 voters without biometrics are in the Cordillera and 34,000 others are in the city’s 128 barangays.

Martin is optimistic that the decreasing number of voters visiting their office to have their biometrics taken and for first-time voters to register will drastically increase in the coming weeks with the availability of the electronic registration of voters.

He explained the electronic registration of voters was observed to have been successful in Madrid, Spain, thus, the Comelec replicated the same initially in the National Capital Region (NCR) prior to its pilot testing in Baguio City.

Martin described the “paperless transaction’ as more effective and efficient considering that the time to be spent by a voter in filling up the voters registration form in the Comelec office will be the one that will be removed and that the voter will be the one to dictate his time in accessing the internet to download the forms for filling up.

Martin encouraged qualified voters, especially those who will be turning 18 years old on or before May 9, 2016, to already register using the electronic registration of voters and have their biometrics taken so that they will not encounter problems of being unable to register due to long lines when the deadline of registration is right at the corner.

The city has a total voting population of approximately 160,000 with only around 75 percent of the registered voters casting their votes during national and mid-term elections.

Martin asserted the Comelec has adopted a policy that voters who will be allowed to vote in next year’s elections should have their biometrics to prevent further complications during the voting in the May 2016 national elections.

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