The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is ready to extend its office hours during the last day of the voter registration period on Tuesday.
Comelec chairperson George Erwin Garcia said Monday that registration sites will accept applicants until all those queued have been served.
Based on Comelec Resolution No. 10868 or the rules on the voter registration for the next Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE), all Election Assistants (EAs) are directed to list down the names of persons waiting in line to file their applications for registration, and are within a 30-meter radius from the voter registration sites, at 3 p.m. of the last day of the registration period.
Voter registration activities resumed last Dec. 12, 2022, and the poll body said the voter registration period for the BSKE would no longer be extended.
The Comelec also reported that more than 2 million voters have registered for the 2023 BSKE as of January 28, 2023.
The poll body said there are 2,076,491 who have processed their registration through the regular process, while 8,651 registered through the Registration Anywhere Project. It added that most of the new registrants are 15 to 17 years old with 582,299; 18 to 30 years old with 543,553; and 31 and above with 117,970.
The Comelec is also set to conduct a pilot test of mall voting in five establishments in Metro Manila for the BSKE. Garcia said the poll body will conduct the pilot test in SM Manila, Robinsons Manila, Robinsons Magnolia and two other malls in the National Capital Region, GMA News reported.
“The reason why we’re pilot testing is that, why is it we always conduct elections in schools when in fact, the malls are offering their spaces for free for us to register? So if we can conduct registration inside malls, why not conduct elections there, too?” the official said.
Among the advantages of mall voting that Garcia cited are security, prevention of sample ballots distribution, and the preservation of school equipment such as chairs.
Although this is a “very convenient” option, Garcia said the Comelec should do its part in disseminating information to those who will be assigned to the precincts inside the malls.
Garcia also said that the Comelec will not prohibit watchers from entering the malls where the pilot test will be conducted, GMA News further reported.