THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has deleted a total of 257,805 voter registrations out of the more than 400,000 who have double or multiple registrations.
A Church-based poll watchdog was also preparing for the October 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE).
Comelec spokesman Rex Laudiangco said the purge of the voters’ registration list came ahead of the BSKE.
The Comelec said there were more than 400,000 voters found to have double or multiple registrations nationwide.
“This is a result of the June 19 Special Election Registration Board hearing,” Laudiangco said, adding that “the number includes 167,223 identities of two or more voters’ fingerprints based on the Automated Fingerprint Identification System.
He said the list also covered 84,335 voters who transferred residence to another city or municipality, 83 voters who failed to vote twice in two succeeding regular elections, 2,620 voters who were reported or confirmed deceased by the local civil registrars, and 3,544 voters who were found to have double and multiple records in the city or municipal level.
Another round of voter’s list cleansing will be conducted this coming July 27 preparatory to the BSKE, the poll body said.
Meanwhile, Comelec mulls the automation of succeeding BSKEs.
“We will proceed with the automation. We can no longer proceed using the manual elections after the Oct 2023 BSKE elections,” Comelec chairman George Garcia said.
The Comelec said the envisioned automation was meant to reduce election-related violence.
“In manual elections, we need early voting hours for senior citizens, persons with disability, pregnant women, indigenous people, it would mean that teachers will need to be in their assigned precincts as early as 4 a.m. They will then need to manually count the votes until early morning the next day. That will be a pitiful situation for them,” Garcia said.
“In the BSKE, the longer vote counting goes, the more it becomes vulnerable to violence. Once there is a trend on who is winning, the emergence of violence becomes more probable.” he added.
However, automated elections would only be possible if Congress provided the Comelec with adequate budget for new voting machines for the May 2025 national and local polls.
“It is our plan that if Congress allows us to change voting machines (for 2025), the one we will be leasing will be good for two years, or including the BSKE 2026. Anyway, we will proceed with the automation even they will not provide us the necessary budget,” Garcia said.
Arwin Serrano, national coordinator of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), said they were in the middle of preparations, but were not expecting to fully deploy their poll body watchers.
“Our preparations are ongoing, but not as heavy compared to the mid-term elections. With regards to poll watching, there is a huge possibility that we won’t be able to fill them up 100 percent,” Serrano said.
He added that they were looking at some 250,000 volunteers for the forthcoming village and youth polls.
The number is lower than the over 400,000 volunteers deployed during last year’s presidential and vice presidential elections.
“During BSKEs, the number of our volunteers decrease as they support their relatives, neighbors, or friends running in the elections,” he said.
“With PPCRV being non-partisan, they will have to go on leave as our volunteers,” Serrano said.
On the other hand, he said they would have to rely on regular citizens during the polls
“Given our limited personnel, our volunteers will just need to go on roving,” Serrano added.
The PPCRV was one of the accredited citizens arm groups of the Comelec) in the May 2022 polls.