Comelec official offers one-week extension of voter registration in mid-October

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 23) — A Commission on Elections official has a counter-offer to lawmakers seeking a one-month extension of the voter registration period which will on Sept. 30.

“Our proposal, we extended to Senator Risa (Hontiveros), is to give a one-week extension after the filing of COCs (certificates of candidacy),” said Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo, who heads all preparations for next year’s polls.

The hearing of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System saw the poll body bargaining with House and Senate members who want to postpone the deadline for those who want to sign up and vote in the May 2022 presidential polls.

Both chambers have passed bills calling for a month-long extension for registrants, but the Comelec has stood firm. However, Casquejo admitted that the poll body will have to comply if these measures are signed into law.

The COC filing is set from Oct. 1-8, when local politicians formally indicate their intention to run before local Comelec offices, the same place where people line up to register.

But the lawmakers didn’t buy Casquejo’s offer.

“‘Yun nga ang problema e, kasi ang layo noong one week na binibigay ng Comelec sa one month na hinihingi ng legislature,” Sen. Imee Marcos said. “Sa dinami-dami ng nakapila, ang layo naman ng one week sa one month. Hindi siya compromise.”

[Translation: That’s the problem. Comelec’s one week offer is not comparable to the one month sought by the legislature. For the thousands of people lining up, one week and one month are vastly different. It’s not a compromise.] 

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, Jr. also tried to negotiate with the poll body, asking if it can give two weeks instead.

Casquejo said he will look into the request, but noted that even his one-week extension proposal has not been tackled by the Comelec en banc.

As of this writing, there are only seven days left for voter registration of first-time voters, transfer of district, and reactivation for delisted voters who were not able to cast their ballots in the last two polls.

Long lines for registration have been reported, with many camping out at dawn to secure their spot in the line.