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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Comelec: 91m ballots for BSKE

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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) aims to finish the printing of over 91 million ballots for the October 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) by the second week of February.

“We are almost complete with all the materials. We will print the ballots—all 91 million plus additional ballots from the ongoing voter registration — until the second week of February,” Comelec chairperson George Garcia said Friday.

According to the Comelec, the printing of ballots started last year but was halted as the barangay and SK polls, initially scheduled on December 5, 2022, were postponed to October 30, 2023.

Garcia was likewise saddened by the low turnout of new voter registrants after only about 200,000 registered, saying they were expecting 1.5 to 2 million people would register.

“Like what we expected, it’s always like every time the voter registration starts or resumes, it is low and only a few go to Comelec offices despite our continuous appeal for them to register,” he said.

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Voter registration started in December last year and will end on January 31. Since 2016, the barangay and SK polls have been repeatedly postponed.

Meanwhile, Comelec Commissioner Rey Bulay, the commissioner-in-charge for the BSKE, assured that all the materials to be used for the 2023 BSKE polls were delivered before the end of 2022.

Also, the Comelec en banc will soon decide on the motion for reconsideration filed by disqualified Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba, as the appeal had already been raffled off to one of the commissioners, Garcia said Friday.

“The public can expect that in the next few days, the Comelec will decide on the motion for reconsideration and determine the final decision of the commission on this matter,” he added.

Last December 14, the Comelec Second Division released a resolution disqualifying Mamba from the 2022 gubernatorial race in Cagayan for allegedly violating the election spending ban.

Those interested can go to Comelec’s offices, as well as in SM and Robinson’s malls, so they can register.

Comelec’s “Register Anywhere” program is also still in effect, which is why some registration sites can have two lanes, said Garcia: one for local residents and the other for those living outside the locality.

The lane for outsiders is open every weekend, he said.

In a separate statement, Comelec maintained it will no longer extend the voter registration period, which will end on Jan. 31.

Garcia urged the public to register as the commission made this accessible to them already.

This is the breakdown of voter registrants from December 12 to December 30, Comelec said. Sangguniang Kabataan voter applicants (15 to 17 years old)—60,491 18 to 30 years old—101,944 Regular registration applicants (21 years old above)—25,694.

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