Senate Files Bill Extending Voter Registration, Comelec Contemplates An Additional Week

Senate seeks to accommodate with a month-long extension while Comelec considers granting a mere week | IMG SOURCE: Rappler

MANILA, Philippines — On Monday, September 20, Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri filed Senate Bill No. 2408. This was after the Senate concluded that Commission of Elections must be obliged to move the registration deadline following its rejection of the proposal. 

Senators continue to urge lengthening voter registration period to make up for a six-month operations halt due to lockdowns. They reinstate that granted these circumstances, it is requisite to extend voter registration. Thus, allowing unregistered Filipino voters to exercise their right to suffrage. 

On Wednesday, the Senate approved the second reading of a bill that extends voter registration by a month. This moves the deadline to October 31, 2021. 

On Thursday, September 23, Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo disclosed that rather than a month-long extension, they are considering the prospect of extending it by a week. If granted, the extension will take place on October 1-8, after the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs). 

In response to Casquejo’s acknowledgement of an extension, Lawmakers retaliated by pushing for a two-week extension instead. They clamored that a one-week extension is disparate from the initial one-month requested. Lawmakers and citizens alike are concerned that millions of voters would be disenfranchised if Comelec sticks with the September 30 deadline. 

Comelec offices in Metro Manila continue to tackle long lines everyday since operations resumed in early September. Previous statements have recorded that Comelec’s apprehension stems from operational concerns. Its administrative preparations depend on the number of voters, this includes allocation of ballots and other apparatus. 

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