A MONTH since the voter’s registration was opened, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday rued the low number of applicants to become registered voters for the May 2022 polls.
Elections spokesman and Director James Jimenez admitted that the number of people coming in has been lower than usual.
The poll official said less than a tenth of the expected four million incoming registrants have shown up, although he expressed confidence that the pace will pick up gradually.
“We are seeing lower-than-usual numbers but we anticipated this considering that we are still in the middle of a pandemic. In the last three to four weeks, we have added only 250,000 (new voters) nationwide. The projection is four million so we still have a long way to go,” he said.
Jimenez the poll body had expected the low numbers considering the extraordinary situation brought by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We expected that the arrival of applicants will really be slow, but we expect to pick it up,” said Jimenez.
In previous registrations, Jimenez said Metro Manila alone have accounted for 250,000.
He urged Filipinos of voting age to go to Comelec offices in their areas to sign up so they can participate in the 2022 general elections.
Comelec offices accept registrants Tuesdays to Saturdays between 8 o’clock in the morning to 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
Because of the health protocols being enforced, only those wearing face masks and face shields will be entertained.
Comelec chairman Sheriff Abas appealed to voters to register early and take advantage of the sparse crowd for faster transactions.
“This registration is only for one year. Let us not wait for the last-day because then there will be a problem dealing with a bid crowd. Rest assured your Comelec prepared early so we are all set for the 2022 national and local elections,” he said.
For former Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who lost their jobs abroad and are now planning to vote in the country, Jimenez said they will be required to accomplish and file two documents: the form for local registration and a letter request asking for transfer to the local Comelec registry.