Solon pushes for electronic registration for first-time voters

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 4) — A lawmaker is pushing for an electronic registration system for new voters ahead of the 2022 elections.

House Assistant Majority Leader Anthony Peter "Onyx" Crisologo filed House Bill 7746 or the Electronic Voters Registration Act of 2020, which seeks to amend the Voter's Registration Act of 1986.

"The government has continuously campaigned for the protection of the rights of the Filipino people and has relentlessly encouraged the people to exercise voting as one of their civic duties," Crisologo said in a statement. "But with the ongoing health crisis that the country is currently experiencing, various challenges continue to emerge that may impede the participation of many individuals in the coming election."

With the pandemic affecting the "mobility of the people and the safety of human interaction," Crisologo said HB 7746 will equip the Commission on Elections (Comelec) with a strategy that can help promote the utilization of available national resources while minimizing health risks.

Under the measure, an alternative electronic mode of registration will be put in place in response to potential national critical situations that may restrict the movement of people and the conduct of personal transactions.

It also seeks to have Comelec implement a security system that allows the proper verification of the identity of each applicant, and require them to submit two valid government-issued identification cards with photo and signature, scanned legible left and right thumbmarks, three specimen signatures, and a 2x2 photo taken within three months prior to the registration.

According to Crisologo, the method shall only be used temporarily. After the government lifts the national emergency declaration, all individuals who registered online shall appear personally at the nearest Comelec office to have their biometrics captured.

The nationwide voter registration figure is only at about 250,000 so far, with the Comelec citing the pandemic as the cause of the low turnout.